Bethesda-based Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTC: NWBO) released a statement to give surety to Investors that its DCVax drug, will not run into the same issues currently facing Seattle, Washington-based, Dendreon Corporation's (NASDAQ:DNDN) Provenge immune therapy drug.
When Dendreon released its second quarter 2011 financial results after hours on August 3rd, it revealed that Provenge sales were moving much slower than expected. The associated cause was that doctors were not comfortable recommending the drug to patients due to the high-cost and fear of not getting reimbursed by insurance companies.
The data took management by surprise during their conference call and the company said it would try to mitigate the situation by laying off staff and educating doctors on the reimbursement process.
Consequently, Dendreon's stock plunged from the mid-thirties -- opening the next day at approximately $11 a share.
Dendreon's Provenge is a immune therapy drug created to treat prostate cancer.
Northwest Biotherapeutics released their statement because they too are in the process of developing an immune therapy drug to battle several type of cancers -- including brain, ovarian and prostate.
But Dendreon's Provenge has a price tag of $93,000 for each month of treatment -- adding 4.5 months to a patient's life with a overall survival of 25.9 months. Northwest's DCVax drug is projected to cost $37,000 for up to three years of treatment and the company says its phase I and II clinical trials show an additional 18-months in life expectancy for a total 38.7 month survival.
Linda Powers, Chairman of the NWBT Board and CEO, stated that "It is really important that pricing and reimbursement concerns associated with certain immune therapies, such as Provenge, not cause a disillusionment with all of the emerging immune therapies for cancer. Some of these, such as DCVax®, while at an earlier stage of development, continue to progress and offer the potential for real cost-effectiveness, easier administration to patients, and longer extensions of patients’ survival, as well as an absence of toxicity.”
Northwest Biotherapeutics also notes that its cryopreservation technology which freezes the drug for storage is a significant part of its price advantage against Dendreon.
Northwest Biotherapeutics moved its headquarters from Bothell, Washington to Bethesda, Maryland in 2007.