Last week, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis made history as the first company to win FDA approval for a CAR-T therapy in the Unites States. Novartis also announced that its genetically modified autologous (“self-derived”) immunocellular therapy, Kymriah, will cost $475,000 per treatment course. While this is expensive, it is far from trendsetting.
Pricing of cell therapies is controversial, because most cell therapy products are priced exponentially higher than traditional drugs. Unfortunately, most drugs can be manufactured and stockpiled in large quantities for off-the-shelf use, while cell therapies involve living cells that require a different approach to commercial-scale manufacturing, transit, stockpiling, and patient use.
To date, the highest priced treatment has not been a cell therapy, but a gene therapy (Glybera). At the time of its launch, Glybera was the first gene therapy approved in the Western world, launching for sale in Germany at a cost close to $1 million per treatment. The record-breaking price tag got revealed in November 2014, when Uniqure and its marketing partner Chiesi, filed a pricing dossier with German authorities to launch Glybera. Unfortunately, Glybera was later withdrawn from the European market due to lack of sales.
Following the approval of Glybera, Kymriah, and more than a dozen other cell therapies, conversations surrounding pricing and reimbursement have become a focal point within the cell therapy industry.
Pricing of Approved Cell Therapy Products
In contrast to pharmaceutical drugs, cell therapies require a different pricing analysis. Below, price tags are shown for the approved cell therapy products that have reached the market (prices in USD $) and for which there is standardized market pricing.
Pricing of Approved Cell Therapy Products:
Apligraf by Organogenesis & Novartis AG in USA = $1,500-2,500 per use 
Carticel by Genzyme in USA = $15,000 to $35,000 
Cartistem by MEDIPOST in S. Korea = $19,000-21,000 ,
Cupistem by Anterogen in South Korea = $3,000-5,000 per treatment 
ChondroCelect by Tigenix in EU = ~ $24,000 (€20,000) 
Dermagraft by Advanced Tissue Science in USA = $1,700 per application ,
Epicel by Vericel in United States = $6,000-10,000 per 1% of total body surface area 
Hearticellgram by FCB-Pharmicell in South Korea = $19,000 
HeartSheet by Terumo in Japan = $56,000 (¥6,360,000) for HeartSheet A Kit; $15,000 (¥1,680,000) for HeartSheet B Kit 
Holoclar by Chiesi Framaceutici in EU = Unknown (very small patient population)
Kymriah by Novartis in USA = $425,000 per treatment
Osteocel by NuVasive in USA = $600 per cc ,
Prochymal by Osiris Therapeutics and Mesoblast in Canada = ~ $200,000 
Provenge by Dendreon and Valeant Pharma in USA = $93,000 , 
Spherox by CO.DON AG in EU = $9,500 – $12,000 (€8,000 – €10,000) per treatment 
Strimvelis by GSK in EU = $665,000 (One of world’s most expensive therapies) ,
Temcell by JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. in Japan = $115,000-170,000 
*Pricing of TEMCELL is $7,600 (868,680 ¥ per bag), with one bag of 72m cells administered twice weekly and 2m cells/kg of body weight required per administration.