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Abbvie's chronic lymphocytic leukaemia drug Venclytxo scores greenlight from NICE

Published on 18/01/19 at 09:58am

A new recommendation from NICE means that thousands of patients in England and Wales will be able to receive Abbvie’s Venclyxto (venetoclax) in combination with Genentech’s Rituxan (rituximab) on the NHS as a treatment for relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) following one prior therapy.

The new recommendation reverses an earlier decision in September last year that chose to dismiss the drug based on uncertainties in its efficacy; thanks to the submission of additional data, NICE has been able to conclude that the combination is cost-effective.

The most common form of leukaemia, CLL affects around 3,500 new patients every year. Venclyxto is taken orally once daily, with dosage increased from 20mg to 400mg over the first five weeks of treatment. After the patient has received the maximum dose for seven days, Rituxan is also administered, and the combination is given for up to two years. It is thought that around 1,000 patients will be eligible to benefit from the new availability of the drug in the first year alone.

“We are very pleased to announce another treatment option for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will be available on the NHS,” commented Meindert Boysen, Director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation. “This is exciting and very important to people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia where there are limited treatment options. I urge companies to seize opportunities for earlier engagement as part of our new appraisal process, so we can support access to these kind of treatments at an even faster rate.”

Matt Fellows

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