Industry updates with Dusko Ilic: May 2019
Read highlights from the latest installment of Dusko Ilic’s industry updates, which discuss the latest developments and news in regenerative medicine and stem cell research, and are published every month in Regenerative Medicine.
Every month, Dusko comments on news of note. Read the full update for May 2019 on Regenerative Medicine here>>
What happened this month that you were expecting?
Following initial approval in March 2019 as a one-time personalized therapy, the Japanese government has agreed on a price of US$ 305,800 for Novartis’ (Basel, Switzerland) cancer treatment Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel) that targets CD19, a surface marker present on B cells. It is indicated for patients up to 25 years old who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that has relapsed, meaning it went into remission, then came back, or is refractory, meaning it did not go into remission with other leukemia treatments.
What happened that surprised you this month?
Bayer (Germany) invested US$150 million to build a cell culture facility in Berkeley (CA, USA. Although the Bayer Berkeley plant dates back to the 1970s and underwent a US$100 million expansion in 2017, it was the subject of job cuts last year ahead of the planned transfer of Kovaltry® production to Germany. Kovaltry is Bayer’s commercial name for clotting Factor VIII or antihemophilic factor that is missing in people with hemophilia A and it was manufactured in the Berkeley plant.
If we only read about one story this month, what should it be?
The interim results from Celgene’s (NJ, USA) and bluebird’s (MA, USA) ongoing Phase I study of an investigational B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy candidate for patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma were very promising.
Dusko Ilic is a Senior Lecturer in stem cell science, coordinator of the cross-divisional postgraduate program in stem cells and regenerative medicine, and Head of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility at King's College London (London, UK). He is also Head of the Assisted Conception Unit's Human Embryonic Laboratories at Guy’s Hospital (London, UK). He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Regenerative Medicine, where he writes the Industry Report, a regular feature compiling information from non-academic institutions in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine.