French drug developer Pharnext to take rare approach to pricing

Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:23pm EST
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By Natalie Grover

(Reuters) - A privately held French drug developer is taking a rare approach to pricing its drug intended to treat a rare disease.

Pharnext SAS, whose drug is the only treatment in a late-stage trial for treating a rare inherited disorder called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), sees potential to earn a healthy profit by selling the yet-to-be approved drug for as little as 20 percent of the prevailing cost of most rare-disease drugs.

Many such drugs cost upwards of $100,000 a year per patient because of the small market.

Drug pricing has become a contentious issue among drugmakers and lawmakers in the United States, with companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Turing Pharmaceuticals facing a backlash for sharply hiking prices of older drugs they have bought cheaply.

Others, including Gilead Sciences Inc, have come under fire for exorbitantly pricing drugs to treat common diseases.

Drug companies say they need to be rewarded for their innovation and risk they take in developing treatments.

Pharnext thinks it can sell its promising drug - a combination of three already-approved drugs - for $20,000-$60,000 per patient, Chief Executive Daniel Cohen told Reuters.

There is no existing treatment for CMT. Pharnext's drug — which is at least three years from hitting the market — is designed to address the most common 1A form of CMT, which affects about 100,000 people in Europe and the United States.   Continued...