Spark Prices Luxturna at $850 Thousand, Looks to Offer Multiple Financing Plans

January 5, 2018: By Jon Swedien

Spark Therapeutics has priced Luxturna, its breakthrough gene therapy, at $850 thousand, or $425 thousand per eye, the Philadelphia company said in an SEC filing Jan. 3.

Some Wall Street analysts had predicted Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec) would be priced at $1 million. The US FDA approved Luxturna in December for the treatment of retinal dystrophies caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene.

Luxturna is the first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease, the first and only pharmacologic treatment for an inherited retinal disease, and the first adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector gene therapy approved in the US, according to Spark.
Spark also outlined its plan to offer a trio of financing plans to help make the drug affordable.

One plan is an “outcomes-based rebate arrangement that aligns with longer-term efficacy of Luxturna,” the company said. Spark said it will share risk with certain health insurers by paying rebates if patient outcomes fail to meet a specified threshold in short-term (30 to 90 days) and longer-term (30 months) efficacy measures. Spark has reached an agreement with Harvard Pilgrim to offer this rebate arrangement.

Spark also proposed a contracting model, under which a commercial payer or payer’s specialty pharmacy, rather than the treatment center, would purchase Luxturna. The payer would provide coverage for its members consistent with US FDA labeling, expedite benefits processing, and cap patient out-of-pocket amounts at in-network limits. Separately, the payer would agree with the treatment center on reimbursement that is commensurate with the type of specialized medical care required to deliver Luxturna. Spark would assume all drug in-transit, storage, and handling risks. Spark is working with affiliates of Express Scripts to enable this contracting model.

Spark also said it is in discussions with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annuity-like model that would spread payments over multiple years, while providing flexibility for greater outcomes-based rebates. Due to current government price reporting requirements, Spark said it is not feasible to offer installment payments or outcomes-based rebates above a certain threshold, but Spark has submitted a proposal to CMS to conduct a demonstration project using this model.

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