UK drugs cost watchdog National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has noted in its draft appraisal consultation document (ACD) that it does not recommend ibrutinib to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), ibrutinib is an oral, once-daily treatment and belongs to a new class of medicines known as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors.

MCL is a chronic and aggressive type of blood cancer and patients with the disease have nearly a 27% chance of surviving five years post-diagnosis.

In the UK, 500 patients are diagnosed with MCL each year, with the majority being more than 60 years old.

"Ibrutinib is the most requested treatment on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for patients with this hard-to-treat cancer."

Janssen health economics, market access and reimbursement director Jennifer Lee said: “Ibrutinib is the most requested treatment on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) for patients with this hard-to-treat cancer.

“Janssen remains committed to continuing to work with both NICE and NHS England, to ensure that permanent access to ibrutinib is achieved for patients with relapsed or refractory MCL through a positive NICE recommendation.”

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Designed to block the BTK protein from causing and spread B-cells, ibrutinib has recently been recommended by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in Scotland for relapsed or refractory MCL.

Janssen is also aiming to receive approval for ibrutinib to treat MCL in England and Wales.

The company noted that last year, ibrutinib received European Commission (EC) approval for use in adult patients with waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM), who have received at least one prior therapy or in first line treatment for patients unsuitable for chemo immunotherapy.

In May this year, EC also approved ibrutinib for use in firstline chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).