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Roche's lung cancer drug Rozlytrek priced nearly 50% lower than rival therapy

Roche Holding AG's newly approved lung cancer therapy Rozlytrek was priced at about $17,050 per month, nearly half the cost of Vitrakvi, a rival drug from Bayer AG and Eli Lilly and Co., Reuters reported.

On a yearly basis, Rozlytrek will cost about $204,560, according to a company spokesman.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 15 approved Rozlytrek, or entrectinib, for treating patients who have non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and who express ROS1, a certain genetic abnormality. The therapy also gained approval to target solid tumors that harbor a neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase gene fusion.

Rozlytrek is the third medicine to receive U.S. approval for this indication, with Vitrakvi and Merck & Co. Inc.'s blockbuster drug Keytruda being the two others.

Vitrakvi, or larotrectinib, approved by the FDA in November 2018, has a price tag of $32,800 monthly.

While Rozlytrek's cost is almost half of Vitrakvi's price tag, the two medicines have differences in safety and effectiveness, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat told Reuters, adding that the price discrepancy is an "interesting competitive dynamic."