Swiss drug manufacturing behemoth Novartis has almost always been at the cutting edge of drug research and one of the most ambitious projects that the company had embarked on in recent years was the one related to gene therapy. Gene therapy is needed to treat spinal muscular atrophy and consists of a onetime treatment. However, in this regard, it is also important to keep in mind that gene therapy is supposed to be a highly specialized and highly expensive onetime treatment.
According to some estimates, it has been revealed that one-time gene therapy could cost as much as $4 million to $5 million, but the Chief Executive Officer has now rubbished such estimates and stated that it is going to cost far less. The drug in question is named Zolgensma, and it is supposed to be used once to get long term relief from spinal muscular atrophy. However, a drug of that nature is bound to go through regulatory scrutiny, and the regulators in the United States are all set to pass their verdict at some point this month.
The price of the drug is definitely an area of concern for many, and in the past, the company had stated that the price could range from anything between $1.5 million to $5 million. However, on Wednesday, CEO Vas Narasimhan stated that the price of the drug will be far lower than the current standard pricing in gene therapy. He said,
We won’t be announcing the price until we get the approval. But our overall goal is to be at a fraction of what is the current standard of care, and the current standard of care for treating these patients is $4 million to $5 million over ten years.
This is an extremely important drug for Novartis, which has spent millions of dollars in trying to come up with the drug. However, what is even more important is the fact that if it can get this drug into the market, then it stands to reason that a far less expensive form of gene therapy is almost certainly going to capture a significant portion of the market soon.