FDA approves most expensive drug ever, a $3.5 million-per-dose gene therapy for hemophilia B

person putting a drop on test tube
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Earlier this year, European regulators approved a similar gene therapy for hemophilia A. That drug, from drugmaker BioMarin, is still under review at the FDA. 

U.S. health regulators on Tuesday approved the first gene therapy for hemophilia, a $3.5 million one-time treatment for the blood-clotting disorder. The Food and Drug Administration cleared Hemgenix, an IV treatment for adults with hemophilia B, the less common form of the genetic disorder which primarily affects men.

Drugmaker CSL Behring, based in Pennsylvania, announced the $3.5 million price tag shortly after the FDA approval.

According to a study cited by the National Library of Medicine, the price makes Hemgenix the most expensive medicine in the world, easily topping Novartis’ Zolgensma gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which costs right around $2 million per dose and is also a single-dose medicine.

After decades of research, gene therapies have begun reshaping the treatment of cancers and rare inheritable diseases with medicines that can modify or correct mutations embedded in people’s genetic code. Hemgenix is the first such treatment for hemophilia and several other drugmakers are working on gene therapies for the more common form of the disorder, hemophilia A.

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