Only a handful of gene therapies for inherited diseases are approved worldwide. Bluebird, holding two of them, has been one of the leading developers.
So Bluebird’s struggles in Europe are notable for the dozens of other biotech companies advancing gene-based treatments for uncommon diseases like cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy or severe beta thalassemia.
The company’s decision also reflects the differences in how therapies approved in Europe are paid for, with decisions on reimbursement left up to the governments of individual EU member states. Compared to the U.S., European countries can be more aggressive in demanding lower prices and, as many have single-payer healthcare systems, are better able to negotiate for larger discounts.
While Bluebird set a $1.8 million price for Zynteglo, the company proposed having countries reimburse for treatment over five years. Payments were linked to continued patient benefit. READ MORE
by Ned Pagliarulo
A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.
Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.
Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”