Despite falling short of its primary endpoint in a trial to examine its effects in cystic fibrosis patients with the R117H mutation, Vertex's Kalydeco has scored an FDA advisory committee recommendation for approval in that population. And the way some see it, that's a sign of much, much bigger approvals to come.
Vertex' orphan drug Kalydeco boasts a comparatively small patient pool that the drugmaker is trying to swell, with an eye on adding cystic fibrosis patients with the R117H mutation. But first, it'll have to get the FDA's OK, and new briefing documents suggest the agency still has some doubts.
Vertex' patient pool for cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco is getting wider--250 patients wider, to be specific. The European Medicines Agency has green-lighted the drug--originally approved for CF patients with at least one copy of the G551D mutation--for 8 additional mutations, spelling new revenue potential for the orphan drugmaker.
The drug-pricing battle continues, but this time, Gilead Sciences' Sovaldi isn't at the center. That dubious honor goes to Vertex Pharmaceuticals' cystic fibrosis treatment Kalydeco. According to a lawsuit filed by three CF patients, Arkansas Medicaid officials are locking them out of Kalydeco treatment.
Back in February, the FDA green-lighted Kalydeco to treat cystic fibrosis in patients with one of 8 distinct gating mutations, dramatically swelling the orphan drug's patient pool.
Any drugmaker knows that no matter what a drug's sticker price, its sales can only go as far as its patient pool will take it. So for Vertex, whose cystic fibrosis med Kalydeco had reached nearly all eligible patients in the U.S. and Europe, a new FDA approval to treat more CF sufferers is pretty significant.
Hepatitis C drugs like Vertex's Incivek are quickly becoming a thing of the past. A new generation of easier-to-tolerate, interferon-free treatments like Gilead's Sovaldi is moving in, and Vertex's fourth-quarter revenues showed it. But a hefty one-time royalty payment helped the company turn a profit, even despite plummeting sales of Incivek--one of just two drugs it currently has on the market.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals' piecemeal approach to the world's cystic fibrosis sufferers took a hit as Kalydeco failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase III trial on patients with one form of the disease, sending the company's shares down as much as 6% premarket on Thursday morning before an eventual rebound.
Herewith we bring you our Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars. Some of them will be obvious to anyone who follows the pharma business. They certainly were obvious to us. But choosing the rest was a challenge--one we weren't exactly expecting, based on previous experience. Read the full report >>
Vertex Pharmaceuticals asked the FDA to approve broader use of its cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco. Already marketed for patients with a G551 "gateway" mutation, Kalydeco could be approved to treat patients with at least one non-G551 mutation.