NICE backs NHS use of Bayer's Vitrakvi via the CDF

Bayer's Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) will be available via the NHS in England and Wales to treat a variety of cancers.

The drug is a histology independent cancer treatment that targets all solid tumours with a certain genetic mutation (the NTRK gene fusion), regardless of where the primary tumour is in the body.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has approved NHS funding for the drug via the Cancer Drugs Fund.

This positive recommendation is a change to the initial decision where the price of Vitrakvi was too high to be considered cost-effective, while NICE also felt that there was to much uncertainty in the clinical evidence as it had not been compared with other treatments.

However, the company subsequently submitted a new price allowing the Institute to approve Vitrakvi's availability through the CDF while further data can be collected to address some of the clinical uncertainties.

“Histology independent medicines, like larotrectinib, are an exciting new development in the treatment of cancer. These cutting-edge therapies can be used to treat tumours with often rare genetic mutations regardless of where in the body the tumour originated. The clinical evidence is usually based on extremely small sample sizes, requiring novel approaches to testing them in clinical trials and translation into models of assessment for potential value in NHS practice,” said Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE.

“We’re therefore pleased to be able to recommend larotrectinib for use in the Cancer Drugs Fund while more data is collected on its clinical effectiveness, and we recognise the contribution of our appraisal committee, the company and other stakeholders.”

This cutting-edge therapy is set to benefit adults and children with advanced neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) fusion-positive solid tumours, who have no satisfactory treatment options.

Between 600–700 people have solid tumours with NTRK gene fusions. A proportion of these people, who have no satisfactory treatment options, will be eligible for treatment within the first year that it’s available on the CDF.

22nd April 2020

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