With Gattex Approval, NPS Joins Pharma’s Commercial Ranks
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
NPS Pharmaceuticals will launch Gattex for the long-term treatment of short bowel syndrome, an ultra-orphan indication, with an ultra-orphan price tag to match: $295,000 per year.
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Rare disease drug development has ballooned in just three years, powered by the success of independent biotechs like Alexion, Big Pharma’s entrée into the field, and pressure from regulators and payors that is dis-incentivizing development of traditional primary care drugs. The positive momentum has intensified dealmaking in the orphan drug space and is giving investors confidence to back rare disease-focused start-ups. Some have coined the resulting movement the “orphan drug bubble,” but interest isn’t likely to deflate soon – at least not as long as Big Pharma continues to invest in the area and industry is able to sustain a favorable reimbursement climate for ultra-premium-priced drugs.