[Ip-health] Bloomberg: Swiss to Take On Big Pharma With Cheaper Cancer Treatment

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Jul 30 21:11:58 PDT 2019


Swiss to Take On Big Pharma With Cheaper Cancer Treatment

By Andy Hoffman
July 28, 2019, 9:54 AM GMT+2

 Swiss university hospitals expect to cut costs by one-third
 Commercial cancer cell therapy can cost more than $300,000

Some of Switzerland’s top university hospitals are teaming up to take on
the soaring cost of cancer cell therapy offered by big pharma.

The hospitals are hoping to offer the treatment for between 150,000 Swiss
francs ($151,026) and 200,000 francs. That’s about one-third cheaper than
the commercialized process offered by the pharmaceutical industry.

“We are convinced that such cancer therapies can be realized at
significantly lower costs,” Roger von Moos, president of the Swiss
Association for Clinical Cancer Research and head physician at the Chur
Cantonal Hospital, told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

Under commercial cancer cell therapy, a patient’s blood is drawn and
certain immune cells are modified in a laboratory. The genetically modified
cells are then returned to the patient and once back in the body, they
identify and destroy tumor cells.

Pilot projects have started in Lausanne and Bern and university hospitals
in Basel and Zurich are also planning to join, the newspaper reported.

They expect to reduce costs by treating cells in Switzerland instead of
sending them abroad for genetic processing. Swiss pharmaceutical giant
Novartis AG sends blood to Germany for processing while Gilead Sciences
Inc. sends cells to the U.S., NZZ reported.

With the knowledge and infrastructure of local university hospitals,
“Switzerland can become an academic competence center for cell therapy,”
said Thomas Cerny, the president of Swiss Cancer League, who is
co-developing the new university platform.

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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