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Sanofi launches Jevtana in UK

Published on 06/07/11 at 12:49pm
Sanofi's Jevtana (cabazitaxel) may face competition from cancer vaccine Provenge, whose manufacturer Dendreon plans to file for European approval later this year

Sanofi has launched its promising advanced prostate cancer drug Jevtana in the UK following EMA approval in March.

Jevtana (cabazitaxel) is now available for UK men with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer (mHRPC), in combination with prednisone, whose cancer has progressed despite treatment with standard chemotherapy agent docetaxel.

The EMA approved the drug in March based on phase III results from the TOPIC trial, which showed Jevtana significantly extended overall survival (OS) in men with mHRPC by 2.4 months (15.1 months median OS versus 12.7 months in the control arm).

The drug also doubled the median time before the disease progressed compared with chemotherapy drug mitoxantrone (2.8 months versus 1.4 months).

Men with mHRPC typically have a poor prognosis and, until now, there have been no licensed treatments available to extend life for this late-stage form of the disease.

But Sanofi may not have the market to itself for long. US biotech firm Dendreon is currently planning to file its highly novel cancer vaccine Provenge, also for mHRPC, in Europe later this year.

The vaccine received a landmark approval in the US last year after its pivotal phase III IMPACT trial showed Provenge extended median survival by 4.1 months when compared to control (25.8 months versus 21.7 months) and reduced the risk of death by 22.5 per cent.

Provenge works by removing cells from patients, modifying them and then re-introducing them to activate an immune response.

But cost may be the biggest issue for Provenge however, as it is currently priced at around $93,000 (£57,731) per year per patient in the US, and would have to convince cost-effectiveness body NICE that it is worth such a high price.

Sanofi told Pharmafocus that Jevtana will cost £3,696 per 60mg vial and the average patient will need six vials for a course of treatment, meaning a typical price will be £22,176 per patient.

Ben Adams

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