Roche cancer treatment priced at $17,050 a month, lower than rival Vitrakvi

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Roche is seen at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - Roche Holding AG has priced its personalized cancer treatment, Rozlytrek, at about $17,050 per month, nearly half of the monthly price of a rival drug from Bayer AG and Eli Lilly and Co that was approved last year.

Roche’s drug and Bayer/Lilly’s Vitrakvi target tumors with rare genetic anomalies called NTRK fusions, irrespective of where in the body the disease started.

Vitrakvi, co-developed by Bayer and Lilly’s Loxo Oncology, won approval in November, and is priced at $32,800 per month.

While Rozlytrek’s price is “almost a 50% discount” to Vitrakvi’s tag, there are differences in the safety and effectiveness of the two treatments, Evercore ISI analyst Umer Raffat said.

Raffat pointed out that Roche’s indication is broader, but said the pricing discrepancy is an “interesting competitive dynamic”.

Rozlytrek was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday to treat certain types of solid tumors, which show NTRK fusions.

The drug also won the FDA nod to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumors show genetic mutations called ROS1 fusions.

Rozlytrek costs about $204,560 a year in adult patients with ROS1-positive NSCLC and for adults with NTRK fusion-positive solid tumors, a company spokesman said on Friday.

About 4,000 patients in the United States and 5,000 overseas show NTRK fusion-positive tumors every year, according to a Bernstein note in June.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel