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UK price watchdog recommends AbbVie, Roche drug combo for blood cancer subtype

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UK price watchdog recommends AbbVie, Roche drug combo for blood cancer subtype

The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended AbbVie Inc. and Roche Holding AG's Venclyxto in combination with Rituxan to treat adults with a type of blood and bone marrow cancer.

NICE recommended Venclyxto, or venetoclax, in combination with Roche's Rituxan to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, who had received at least one prior therapy but their cancer returned or did not respond to treatment. The drug combination was granted marketing authorization in the U.K. in October 2018.

Venclyxto, a cancer drug developed by AbbVie and Roche's unit Genentech Inc., is marketed in the U.S. as Venclexta and is approved in combination with Rituxan to treat patients with CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma, or SLL, who have received at least one prior therapy.

Rituxan, or rituximab, is approved to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well as CLL in combination with chemotherapy.

CLL is a type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects a group of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which help fight infections in the body. CLL is the most common form of leukemia, with about 3,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.K., NICE said in its final draft guidance.

NICE had previously not recommended the drug combo due to inconsistencies in the clinical data. However, following the submission of additional data and clarifications from AbbVie, NICE concluded that the therapy was cost-effective.

The watchdog said the list price for a 112-pack of 100-milligram Venclyxto tablets is £4,789.47 but the treatment is available to the U.K.'s National Health Service at a discounted price under a confidential commercial arrangement with the company.