Amgen’s new leukemia drug to carry $178,000 price tag

17 Dec


By Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) – Amgen Inc on Wednesday said its new type of treatment for a deadly form of leukemia would cost about $178,000 when it becomes available on Thursday, which would make it one of the world’s most expensive cancer drugs.

Company spokeswoman Danielle Bertrand said the price for the infused medicine, called Blincyto, would reflect two courses of treatment, at $89,000 per cycle.

“We believe the price reflects the significant clinical, economic and humanistic value of the product to patients and the healthcare system, for an ultra-orphan population with a dramatic impact on a serious illness,” Amgen said in an emailed statement.

U.S. regulators on Dec. 3 approved Blincyto to treat a rare blood cancer called acute lyphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

The initial approval is for patients whose cancer has returned after treatment or did not respond to previous treatment, such as a stem cell transplant or chemotherapy.

In a clinical trial used for the approval decision, 32 percent of patients achieved complete remission for nearly seven months after receiving the drug via infusion for four weeks.

An estimated 6,020 Americans in 2014, almost half of them children, will be diagnosed with ALL and 1,440 will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“The overall price of Blincyto is definitely on the high side for cancer drugs,” said Michael Yee, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. But he said the price was not surprising given the drug’s impressive effectiveness and that only about 1,000 Americans who had failed previous therapy would be eligible to take it.

Yee estimated Blincyto could reap annual sales of $100 million for ALL, assuming that half of all eligible patients take the medicine. “That would make it a pretty small drug,” he said.

Amgen acquired Blincyto through its $1.2 billion purchase in 2012 of Micromet, a biotechnology company founded in Germany. At the time, Blincyto was known by its chemical name, blinatumomab.

The drug is a so-called bispecific antibody, a hot emerging technology that could prove more potent than conventional antibodies, which have become mainstay treatments for a wide array of cancers.

Other costly immuno-oncology drugs, which work by harnessing the immune system, include Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s Yervoy treatment for melanoma, which costs about $120,000 for a complete course of four infusions. Merck & Co’s new Keytruda melanoma drug costs $150,000 for a year of treatment.

Amgen shares were up 1.7 percent in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, David Gregorio and Meredith Mazzilli)


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Top 10 Best Christmas Decorations and gifts

12 Dec

So today instead of a normal blog post, I have gathered the top 10 of the best decoration ideas for the holidays! Enjoy!


Who doesn’t love that good old ambient lighting



Another good way of lighting up a room, while still keeping the Christmas theme!



First appearances matter and what do people see first? Your door!








Get a crazy amount of compliments with this awesome napkin idea!






How could you go wrong with making a couple of these?





Good mints for the whole Family in some awesome vases!




Wine glasses made into decorations; brilliant



Do this one with the kids!




Make the whole family hehe this one makes me laugh



This one is actually a gift but it is awesome so I thought I would include it!

Sands Of Time

Ever changing, this sand art is an awesome microcosm of natural elements and landscapes. Simply rotate the glass ring and marvel as the delicate light and dark sands shift into deserts, mountains, clouds, rain, oceans and smoke, all ebbing and flowing into one another. There is an eternal and yet fleeting quality about this interactive art, and the sparkling sand will mesmerize as it becomes a tiny primordial universe right there on your desk. Created by Klaus Bosch and handmade in Austria, this inventive artwork will bring a calming, natural presence and a sense of wonder to your office or home. Handmade in Austria.

Includes a small syringe with needle for adding and removing water and air, which helps regulate and maintain the device and makes sand flow more slowly or more quickly. Regulation, which is rarely required, should be done by adults only. Instructions included.




Mennonite Sentenced in Cartel Drug Smuggling Case

1 Dec




In what prosecutors called a drug smuggling conspiracy involving Mennonite and a Mexican drug cartel, a man was sentenced on Monday to 15 months in prison for aiding the movement of tons of marijuana to the U.S.

Mennonite Abraham Friesen-Remple was expected to be released later in the day after a judge sentenced him to time served as part of a plea deal he made in October.

Prosecutors said he played a minor role as a driver, helping the Juarez cartel smuggle drugs in gas tanks of cars and inside farm equipment.

Friesen-Remple was one of seven people indicted, all but one of whom are members of a Mexican Mennonite community in Chihuahua. Prosecutors also say the Mennonites also grew marijuana for the cartel.

The investigation involved wire taps in which 32,200 calls were recorded in Spanish and a German dialect used by Mennonites

Authorities said the operation moved to North Carolina after the arrest of a person who ran a Colorado Springs, Colorado, auto body shop involved in the case.

Court records show Friesen-Remple delivered a shipment of marijuana ? hidden in a farm bulldozer ? to a home in Shelby, North Carolina. DEA agents tapped his phone and learned he was getting directions from someone in Mexico.

The next month, a fellow member of the drug ring, who became a cooperating witness, told agents Friesen-Remple delivered the 1,575 pounds of pot that agents found during a search of his home, according to court records.

Friesen-Remple was arrested on Aug. 20, 2013, in the Santa Testa Point of Entry in New Mexico. He pleaded guilty to using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of marijuana.

During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer noted his lack of criminal history and limited role in drug distribution.

The Mennonite community in Chihuahua dates to the 1920s, when thousands of Mennonites moved from Canada to northern Mexico to preserve a way of life rooted in farming and objection to military service. They continue to farm and ranch in isolated communities.


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