Novartis mulling $1.5 mln-$5 mln price range for SMA gene therapy

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel, Switzerland, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said on Wednesday that the Swiss drugmaker is examining a price range for its Zolgensma gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) of between $1.5 million and $5 million per patient.

"At a $500,000 per QALY cut-off, the medicine is cost-effective in the range of $4-$5 million, and at a $150,000 per QALY cutoff, it's cost-effective at a range of $1.5 million," Narasimhan told analysts on a call, using the acronym for quality-adjusted life year used to help assess a treatment's value. "That's the range that we're looking at. That hopefully gives you some of the boundaries."

U.S. regulators are due to make a decision on approving Zolgensma next month.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)