FDA approves drug for tough-to-treat type of leukemia

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug targeting a subset of leukemia patients with a genetic abnormality that makes the cancer harder to treat.

It approved sales of Venclexta (VEHN'-clecks-tah) for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who relapsed or weren't helped by a prior treatment and are missing the part of chromosome 17 that kills cancer cells. That allows the blood cancer to worsen.

Venclexta is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois. AbbVie will market it overseas and will sell it in the U.S. together with Genentech, part of the Roche Group.

The drug has a list price of $109,500 for the first year of treatment and slightly higher for subsequent years. Patients can get financial assistance reducing copayments to as low as $25.