U.S. regulators have approved a new drug called Kisqali as an initial treatment for postmenopausal women with a type of advanced breast cancer . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed the approval on March 13. Novartis said it will offer patients several types of financial assistance and many won’t have to make co-payments.
Kisqali, developed by Novartis AG, is a pill that works to slow the spread of cancer by blocking two proteins that can stimulate growth and division of cancer cells for women who have metastatic breast cancer known as HR+/HER2-.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 40% of U.S. women diagnosed with breast cancer have this type.
“This is an important therapy for these patients” who have limited options, said Dr. Vas Narasimhan, chief medical officer and head of drug development at Novartis.
Kisqali, part of the drug class called kinase inhibitors, is taken daily for three weeks, followed by a one-week break. Meanwhile, patients also take either letrozole or another aromatase inhibitor, depending on the characteristics of their disease, for the entire four-week cycle.
A four-week supply of Kisqali, or 21 pills, will have a list price of $10,950 for the strongest dose — 600 milligrams. The 400-milligram dose will cost $8,760 and the 200-milligram dose $4,380, Novartis said.
A study of 668 women funded by Novartis found that Kisqali reduced the risk of death or the cancer worsening by 44 percent, compared to those receiving only letrozole.
Novartis said it’s conducting additional Kisqali studies in combination with other treatments, and in women who haven’t yet begun menopause. Results should be available late this year or early next year, the company said.
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Source: The Associated Press