Bloomberg News

Sanofi’s Jevtana Cancer Drug Rejected by U.K. Cost Agency

September 29, 2011

(Updates with comment from Sanofi in fourth paragraph.)

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sanofi’s Jevtana drug was rejected by the U.K.’s health-cost agency as a treatment for prostate cancer in patients for whom an older medicine didn’t work.

Jevtana is too costly given “uncertainty” about its hearts and kidneys effects, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said in an e-mail announcing the preliminary decision. The drug also doesn’t meet criteria for treating people with short life expectancies because a study found it prolonged life by 10 weeks, said the agency known as NICE, which typically seeks at least 12 extra weeks of survival.

Sanofi has the opportunity to propose price discounts, NICE said. The agency will issue another draft decision after hearing comments from the Paris-based company, health-care providers and the public, according to the statement.

“Sanofi is committed to working with NICE in the coming months to achieve the best possible outcome for men with advanced prostate cancer,” Jean-Marc Podvin, a Sanofi spokesman, said in an e-mail. The drugmaker is “disappointed that the appraisal committee’s preliminary finding is not to recommend the use of Jevtana on the basis of cost,” he said.

NICE considered Jevtana when used alongside prednisone or prednisolone, two steroids, in patients whose disease progressed after treatment with docetaxel.

Jevtana typically costs 22,000 pounds ($34,500) for a course of treatment, according to the agency, which advises the National Health Service on the cost-effectiveness of medicines.

The drug, known by the chemical name cabazitaxel, won approval in March from the European Union for treatment of prostate cancer. U.S. regulators approved the drug in June.

The announcement was made after markets in Paris closed yesterday. Sanofi added 1.3 percent to 49.855 euros. The shares have gained 4.2 percent this year, compared with the 1.2 percent advance of the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

--With assistance from Albertina Torsoli in Paris. Editors: Marthe Fourcade, Jason Gale

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Phil Serafino in Paris at pserafino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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