UPDATE 1-Cost a focus as GSK takes lead in new wave of biotech lung drugs

Mon Sep 8, 2014 10:46am EDT
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* GSK drug ahead of similar ones from Teva and AstraZeneca

* Under-the-skin injection set for filing this year

* NEJM editorial questions cost-effectiveness of new drugs

* Analysts see fragmented market for biotech lung treatments (Adds more detail on Teva drug, analyst comment on fragmented market)

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - A new group of biotech lung drugs that have produced promising results in clinical tests are now up against the issue of how cost-effective that are.

The first is likely to be launched next year by GlaxoSmithKline. Rival firms including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and AstraZeneca are racing to develop similar injectable drugs for patients with severe asthma, who do not respond adequately to traditional inhalers.

It is all in pursuit of a new market that analysts believe may be worth around $7.5 billion in annual sales.

But some analysts have estimated the new class of drugs might cost $10,000 to $15,000 per patient a year.   Continued...