Novartis Pharma CEO Sees Zolgensma Supplanting Spinraza
The Swiss major's pharma chief tells Scrip that its gene therapy for SMA offers much more than Biogen's Spinraza for both patients and payers, noting that the company is ready with alternative payment models for the pricey treatment as soon as approvals for Zolgensma are granted.
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A US plant will become the largest of four state-of-the-art sites involved in manufacturing of Novartis unit Avexis' gene therapies headed by Zolgensma, which is widely expected to get the green light from the FDA in May.
Once a gene therapy product begins to show promise in clinical trials, the next step is deciding how the product is to be manufactured. Options are to make the product in house, contract out the manufacturing, or to combine the two approaches. An industry representative discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach and what to look for in the site selection process if the company decides to build out.
With the eye-care business set for its own stock exchange listings next month and the future of Sandoz the subject of much discussion, Novartis' plan to be a pure play pharma firm moves ever closer.