Over the past four decades, and especially in recent years, progress in the development of cell and gene therapies has reached unprecedented levels. In gene therapy alone, between 1989 and 2015 there were more than 2,330 clinical research programs targeting almost 50 different indications.1,2 As more cell and gene therapies reach commercial stage, industry insiders expect research in the sector to continue to expand in the coming years. For patients, clinicians, and health systems, new cell and gene therapies bring the promise of historic and transformative advances in the treatment of many serious diseases.
Progress in development of gene and cell therapies around the world has potential to transform standards of care for a range of diseases and address significant areas of unmet need in healthcare over the coming years. In the U.S. alone, almost 20 gene and cell therapy products have been approved thus far,1 with many other development programs reaching later clinical stages. The technology platforms of many of these drugs also offer the potential for curative efficacy and expansion for use in multiple indications.
A range of factors — including small patient populations, complex manufacturing processes, and lack of specialized expertise — are positioned to both drive up costs and require new options for stakeholder engagement and risk sharing along the development pathway. New approaches in development are needed to support the next generation of novel drugs on the horizon.
This article highlights the diverse interests and range of opinions about pricing innovative and often high-cost therapies, but also demonstrates that most players in the sector see an urgent need for new pricing models to accommodate cell and gene therapy products.