March 2, 2024

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First Chinese PD-1 Cancer Drug 30 Times More Expensive in US

First Chinese PD-1 Cancer Drug 30 Times More Expensive in US than in China



First Chinese PD-1 Cancer Drug 30 Times More Expensive in US than in China

The first Chinese PD-1 cancer immunotherapy drug is priced 30 times higher in the United States than in China.

Toripalimab has become the first and only drug approved for the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer in the United States. How does its price compare between China and the United States?

Toripalimab (brand name in the United States: toripalimab-tpzi), the first Chinese produced PD-1 cancer immunotherapy drug to be launched in the United States, has a significantly different price in the U.S. compared to China.

First Chinese PD-1 Cancer Drug 30 Times More Expensive in US

Recently, the U.S. partner of Junshi Biosciences, stated in a securities filing that the wholesale acquisition cost of Toripalimab is $8,892.03 per bottle.

The drug is available in a 240mg specification, with a current selling price of RMB 1,912.96 (about US$270) in China. In a simple comparison, the U.S. price is more than 30 times higher than the Chinese price.

On October 29, Junshi Biosciences announced that Toripalimab, a PD-1 monoclonal antibody developed independently by the company, received approval for market launch in the United States. This marks the first innovative biopharmaceutical developed and produced in China to be approved for market launch by the U.S. FDA.

The two approved indications cover the comprehensive treatment of recurrent/metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer. These include Toripalimab in combination with cisplatin/gemcitabine as first-line treatment for adult patients with metastatic or recurrent locally advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, and Toripalimab monotherapy for adult patients with recurrent, unresectable, or metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer with disease progression after platinum-containing treatment.

This approval makes Toripalimab the first and only drug approved for the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer in the United States, filling a treatment gap for nasopharyngeal cancer in the country.

Toripalimab is China’s first Chinese produced PD-1 monoclonal antibody, initially approved for market launch in China in December 2018. Currently, multiple PD-1 monoclonal antibodies have entered the Chinese market, making competition in the industry intense. For Chinese PD-1 monoclonal antibodies, expanding into international markets is expected to increase sales.

The United States is the world’s largest market for innovative drugs. With the support of free pricing and patent laws, innovative drugs have the potential to command high prices here, attracting numerous pharmaceutical companies. However, this still tests the sales capabilities of pharmaceutical companies.

Junshi Biosciences has entrusted the sales of Toripalimab in the United States to Coherus BioSciences. In 2021, Junshi Biosciences and Coherus BioSciences reached a cooperation agreement on the development and commercialization of the PD-1 monoclonal antibody drug Toripalimab injection in the United States and Canada. According to the agreement at that time, for the Toripalimab project, Junshi Biosciences will receive milestone payments totaling no more than $380 million after reaching the corresponding milestone events, plus a 20% sales share of Toripalimab’s annual net sales in the licensed territories.

The approved indication for Toripalimab in the United States is nasopharyngeal cancer, which is a small indication, and the sales revenue is still relatively limited. Recently, Yao Sheng, Senior Vice President of Junshi Biosciences, also told a reporter from First Financial that according to the estimate of Coherus, there are about 2,000 new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer in the United States each year. It is expected that the annual peak sales of Toripalimab in the United States can reach $200 million.


What are Toripalimab’s benefits in cancer treatment?

 
Toripalimab is a PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) monoclonal antibody, representing a class of immunotherapy drugs designed to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

The primary mechanism of action for PD-1 inhibitors like Toripalimab is to block the PD-1 receptor on T cells, a type of immune cell, which in turn enhances the immune system’s ability to recognize and attack cancer cells.

Here are some potential benefits associated with Toripalimab:

  1. Effective Cancer Treatment: Toripalimab has been developed for the treatment of various cancers, with a notable focus on nasopharyngeal cancer. Its approval for the treatment of recurrent/metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer in the United States represents a significant advancement, offering a new therapeutic option for patients with this specific type of cancer.

  2. First-Line and Monotherapy Options: Toripalimab has received approval for both first-line treatment in combination with other chemotherapy agents and as a monotherapy. This provides flexibility in its use, allowing for tailored treatment approaches based on the specific characteristics and needs of individual patients.

  3. Potential for Improved Outcomes: By targeting the PD-1 pathway, Toripalimab aims to restore and enhance the anti-cancer immune response. This may lead to improved outcomes, including increased progression-free survival and overall survival rates, compared to traditional cancer treatments.

  4. Reduced Side Effects: Immunotherapies, including PD-1 inhibitors, are generally associated with fewer severe side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy. This can contribute to an improved quality of life for patients undergoing treatment.

  5. Innovation in Cancer Therapy: Toripalimab is among the first wave of innovative biopharmaceuticals developed and produced in China to receive approval for market launch in the United States. This reflects a growing trend of advancements in cancer research and drug development originating from China.

It’s important to note that individual responses to Toripalimab can vary, and its benefits should be assessed in the context of each patient’s specific cancer type, stage, and overall health. As with any medical treatment, patients should consult with their healthcare providers to determine the most suitable and effective treatment plan for their condition.

 


Information about PD-1 inhibitors

 
 
PD-1 inhibitors, or programmed cell death protein 1 inhibitors, are a class of immunotherapy drugs that play a crucial role in the treatment of various cancers.
 

Key points about PD-1 inhibitors:

  1. Mechanism of Action: PD-1 is a protein found on the surface of certain immune cells, including T cells. Its role is to regulate the immune system by suppressing T cell activity and preventing them from attacking normal cells. However, cancer cells can exploit this mechanism by expressing ligands that bind to PD-1, effectively inhibiting the immune response against the tumor.

  2. Immune Checkpoint Inhibition: PD-1 inhibitors work by blocking the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands (PD-L1 and PD-L2). By doing so, these inhibitors “release the brakes” on the immune system, allowing T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells. This mechanism is often referred to as immune checkpoint inhibition.

  3. Indications: PD-1 inhibitors are used in the treatment of various cancers, including melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers, and more. They have demonstrated efficacy in a range of tumor types.

  4. Versatility: PD-1 inhibitors can be used as monotherapy or in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapies, or other immunotherapies. Combinations are often employed to enhance the overall anti-cancer immune response.

  5. Clinical Success: PD-1 inhibitors have shown significant success in clinical trials, leading to their approval for the treatment of specific cancers. Patients who respond to PD-1 inhibitors may experience durable and long-lasting responses, making these drugs an important advancement in cancer treatment.

  6. Side Effects: While PD-1 inhibitors can be highly effective, they can also cause immune-related side effects, known as immune-related adverse events (irAEs). These can affect various organs and systems in the body and may include skin rash, diarrhea, colitis, thyroid dysfunction, and pneumonitis. Management of these side effects is an essential aspect of using PD-1 inhibitors.

  7. PD-L1 Inhibitors: In addition to PD-1 inhibitors, there are also PD-L1 inhibitors, which target the ligands (PD-L1) that interact with PD-1. PD-L1 inhibitors function similarly to PD-1 inhibitors, releasing the immune system’s inhibitory signals.

Prominent PD-1 inhibitors include pembrolizumab (Keytruda), nivolumab (Opdivo), and cemiplimab (Libtayo), while atezolizumab (Tecentriq) and durvalumab (Imfinzi) are examples of PD-L1 inhibitors.

PD-1 inhibitors have revolutionized cancer treatment and have become a cornerstone in the evolving landscape of cancer immunotherapy.

Ongoing research aims to expand their applications, improve response rates, and better understand the nuances of their use in different cancer types.

First Chinese PD-1 Cancer Drug 30 Times More Expensive in US

Reference:

https://finance.internet.cn/2023-11-28/detail-imzweitr6437803.d.html?vt=4&cid=76556&node_id=76556

https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404973097143894289

(source:internet, reference only)


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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.