Spark Therapeutics has priced its gene therapy Luxturna at $850,000 for a one-time treatment, CNBC reports. This, Stat News notes, makes it the most expensive medicine sold in the US, by sticker price.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Luxturna last month, making it the first gene therapy approved to treat an inherited disease, retinal dystrophy, a form of childhood blindness caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. Other approved gene therapies — Novartis' Kymriah and Kite Pharmaceutical's Yescarta — have been for cancers.
Spark's treatment will cost $425,000 per eye and is expected to only be needed once, CNBC says. It adds that the company also announced payment and access programs, including installment programs and linking the cost to how well the treatment worked. Novartis has also said that it may tie the price of Kymriah to its effectiveness.
"It's wildly expensive but, to be very frank, I think they've priced it what I'll call responsibly," Steve Miller, the chief medical officer of pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts tells CBNC. Express Scripts is partnering with Spark to offer insurers a way to buy Luxturna directly, it adds.
At Forbes, Matthew Herper notes that this price tag is actually less than what some analysts had predicted — they'd expected the treatment cost to top $1 million.