First Gene Therapy for Beta Thalassemia Will Cost Over €1.5M

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Zynteglo, a gene therapy developed by the US company bluebird bio for the treatment of beta-thalassemia, will cost European healthcare systems more than €1.5M per patient.

Following the approval of the treatment earlier this month, bluebird bio has now released the pricing plan of Zynteglo. Healthcare systems in Europe will need to pay €315,000 upfront, which will cover the first year after the patient receives the gene therapy. Over the next four years, the company is due another €315,000 per year. However, if the therapy fails and the patient requires a blood transfusion that year, then no payments are due.

This pricing makes Zynteglo the second-most expensive treatment in the world. The first is Novartis‘ gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, Zolgensma, which is priced at €1.9M ($2.1M) per patient in the US.

The huge prices for gene therapies are the subject of an ongoing debate on their affordability. To make the price more palatable, companies have started exploring new pricing models, including outcome-based payment plans, payable only if the therapy works.

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