Expanded insurance benefits for new lymphoma remedy

Constance Williams  Published 2017.03.08  10:25  Updated 2017.03.08 10:25


- Janssen Korea’s ‘Velcade’ extends patients’ progression-free survival

Janssen Korea announced Tuesday that its treatment for mantle cell lymphoma, “Velcade” (ingredient name of Bortezomib), will receive greater insurance benefits retroactive to March 1.

Thanks to the expanded reimbursement, doctors will be able to use the drug to treat not just multiple myeloma (MM) but mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), the company said.

Janssen Korea’s Velcade is to receive larger insurance benefits as a parallel remedy for patients with mantle cell lymphoma.

Physicians will use Velcade together with other compounds, such as rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone, for adult patients with MCL who are not suited for stem cell transplantation and have no experiences of treatment.

Velcade is a first-in-class proteasome inhibitor involved in protein breakdown process as well as a targeted cancer therapy. Since the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved it as a treatment for MM patients 2006, Velcade has been used in all stages of treatment regardless of patients’ suitability for blood stem-cell transplant.

The ministry approved Velcade as a combination therapy for previously untreated MCL patients.

The expanded reimbursement is attributable to Phase III trials, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of combined treatment of Velcade with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, prednisone (VR-CAP), including 487 patients with the newly diagnosed medial collateral ligament, who were ineligible for bone marrow transplantation.

The Phase III trials showed a significant improvement with increased progression-free survival by 24.7 months compared to control group with 14.4 months. Also, the four-year survival rate was reported to be 64.4 percent in the VR-CAP, 53.9 percent higher than R-CHOP.

"Since we launched Velcade 10 years ago in Korea, we have expanded its indications and reimbursement as front- and second-line therapy for the treatment of MM and front-line therapy for MCL,” said Kim Oak-yeon, CEO of Janssen Korea. “Velcade has become the standard treatment for MM and has contributed to improving the quality of life of patients with MM and MCL. We believe that Velcade has the potential to be an important treatment option for previously untreated patients affected by this rare and aggressive blood cancer,” Kim added.

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