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Jeremy Frommer, CEO of Hedge Fund LIVE Jeremy Frommer has 20 years of industry experience and is currently responsible for general management and leadership of the General Partner. Previously, Mr. Frommer was a Managing Director and Head of the Global Prime Services Group (“GPS”) at RBC Capital... More
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  • So you can put a price tag on curing cancer… 0 comments
    Nov 8, 2010 12:38 PM | about stocks: DNDN

    On April 29, 2010 the FDA approved Provenge, Dendreon’s (NASDAQ:DNDN) late-stage prostate cancer-fighting vaccine.  Soon after the approval was announced, CMS said they would organize a national coverage analysis for Provenge.  While most Medicare reimbursement is decided at the local level, CMS will occasionally make a National Coverage Determination (NCD).  This is often the case when a new, unprecedented drug or treatment comes to market, and Provenge fits both of those criteria.  There is one aspect of Provenge, however, that some think is getting more attention than it should as a November 17 public advisory panel approaches- its price.

    The late-stage prostate cancer victim gets blood drawn.  The white blood cells in the blood are then separated via leukapheresis and sent to Dendreon’s manufacturing facility.  Dendreon technicians then introduce a recombinant human protein found on ~95% of prostate tumor cells to the patient’s antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and formulate a vaccine.  The vaccine is then sent back to the patient’s doctor who injects the vaccine into the patient.  This process is quite a to-do and, understandably, is quite expensive.  Each vaccine developed brings with it a price tag of $31,000 and the standard regimen is 3 vaccines for a grand total of $93,000 per treatment.

    National coverage analyses are supposed to focus only on therapeutic effects (Provenge does prolong life by several weeks for prostate cancer victims), but with spending cuts and repealing health reform on everyone’s mind after last week’s election, price just may creep into the minds of those whose opinions matter.

    Disclosure: none
    Stocks: DNDN
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