EQRx is partnering with NHS England to deliver cheaper cancer medicines, reported the Financial Times. The deal – the NHS's first population health partnership in oncology – is designed to get two drugs it hopes to submit for approval next year to all UK patients.
The Boston-based start-up plans to sell drugs at prices 50% to 70% cheaper than its rivals by using a "fast follow" model it hopes will be a third way between expensive branded treatments and generics.
Melanie Nallicheri, chief executive at EQRx, said the NHS has been "really forward thinking" and she hoped health systems around the world would follow its lead.
It acquired its top two potential cancer drugs, which have both reported positive trial data in lung cancer, from Chinese companies. The EGFR inhibitor aumolertinib will likely compete with AstraZeneca's Tagrisso, while the anti-PDL-1 antibody sugemalimab will compete with a number of rivals.
These two treatments have been granted Innovation Passport designations through the UK's Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP), a new programme to accelerate regulatory approvals.
Nallicheri describes the "incredibly innovative" ILAP process as "the cherry on the cake" in striking the deal with the NHS.
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