- The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on Wednesday rejected the promising leukemia drug Imbruvica over cost effectiveness in an initial draft guidance.
- Developed jointly by Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen and AbbVie, Imbruvica costs $78,000 a year, according to Reuters.
- Both companies have high hopes for the drug, which is part of a new class of cancer drugs. AbbVie bought one of the original developers of the drug, Pharmacyclics, for $21 billion last year to gain access to Imbruvica.
Imbruvica raked in $689 million in sales last year for J&J, with $235 million coming in the fourth quarter. This compares favorably to $92 million in sales in Q4 of 2014. AbbVie hopes the drug can reach $5 billion in sales by 2020.
NICE rejected Imbruvica for the treatment of chronic lymphocyctic leukemia, although there is a possibility it changes its decision when it issues final guidance.
In a statement, Janssen expressed its extreme disappointment in NICE's decision. "This draft recommendation from NICE for ibrutinib sits in stark contracts to the recommendations of 48 countries globally which have opted to fund of reimburse the medicine," the statement said.