By Kathryn Hardison

 

Bluebird bio Inc. said Wednesday that it is working on making its Zynteglo therapy accessible in the U.S., following its approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency approved the therapy Wednesday, which is designed for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with beta-thalassemia who require regular red blood cell transfusion.

Bluebird said that it has set the wholesale acquisition cost of Zynteglo at $2.8 million. In comparison, bluebird said that the lifetime cost of medical care for patients under current standards of care in the U.S. can reach $6.4 million because patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia typically require transfusions every two to five weeks. The company estimated that there are 1,300 to 1,500 people with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia in the country.

Bluebird also said that it is in late-stage negotiations with commercial payers, including pharmacy benefit managers with the potential to represent dozens of plans. The company is also working with state Medicaid agencies.

The company is also planning to offer an agreement that requires bluebird to reimburse contracted commercial and government payers up to 80% of the cost of the therapy if the patient fails to achieve and maintain transfusion independence up to two years following the treatment. This would require a one-time, upfront payment.

Shares gained 11% to $7.30 in afternoon trading.

 

Write to Kathryn Hardison at kathryn.hardison@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 17, 2022 15:15 ET (19:15 GMT)

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