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
Airnov provides critical healthcare industries with high-quality, controlled atmosphere packaging, to protect their products from moisture and oxygen. The business has manufacturing facilities in the USA, France, China and India and employs around 700 people.
Takeda of Japan has partnered with Hong Kong-based Hutchmed, gaining the commercial rights to colorectal cancer drug fruquintinib outside of China for $400 million up front, plus $730 million in potential milestone payments. Takeda also will help develop fruquintinib, which can be applied to subtypes of refractory metastatic colorectal cancer, regardless of biomarker status, the companies said.
On April 3, Scangos, who’s been chief executive officer at Vir since the start of 2017, will hand over the reins to Marianne De Backer, Ph.D. De Backer comes over from Bayer, where she currently heads up pharmaceutical strategy, business development and licensing. Alongside her CEO appointment, De Backer is set to join Vir’s board of directors, the company said Wednesday.