Novocure (NASDAQ:NVCR) announced today that the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) has added Optune in combination with temozolomide to the List of Remedies and Equipment (MiGeL) for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM), effective April 1, 2021. The List of Remedies and Equipment defines which medical devices are covered by compulsory health insurance in Switzerland.
“We are extremely pleased that Switzerland has established national reimbursement for Optune,” said Thomas Hefti, Vice President Europe and Emerging Markets (EMEA). “Access to our therapy continues to grow throughout the world, demonstrating health insurers’ increasing recognition of Optune.”
“National reimbursement of Optune for newly diagnosed GBM patients in Switzerland represents an incredible effort by our team to expand access to our therapy as well as an increased understanding of the benefits of our therapy among health insurers,” said Pritesh Shah, Novocure’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We are proud of this accomplishment and will continue working diligently to expand access to GBM patients who may benefit.”
Optune is a noninvasive, antimitotic cancer treatment for GBM. Optune delivers Tumor Treating Fields to the region of the tumor.
Tumor Treating Fields is a cancer therapy that uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell division. Tumor Treating Fields does not stimulate or heat tissue and targets dividing cancer cells with specific membrane properties. Tumor Treating Fields causes minimal damage to healthy cells. Mild to moderate skin irritation is the most common side effect reported. Tumor Treating Fields is approved in certain countries for the treatment of adults with GBM and in the U.S. for MPM, two of the most difficult cancer types to treat. The therapy shows promise in multiple solid tumor types – including some of the most aggressive forms of cancer.
Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Optune with temozolomide is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed, supratentorial glioblastoma following maximal debulking surgery, and completion of radiation therapy together with concomitant standard of care chemotherapy.
For the treatment of recurrent GBM, Optune is indicated following histologically- or radiologically-confirmed recurrence in the supratentorial region of the brain after receiving chemotherapy. The device is intended to be used as a monotherapy, and is intended as an alternative to standard medical therapy for GBM after surgical and radiation options have been exhausted.
Important Safety Information
Do not use Optune in patients with GBM with an implanted medical device, a skull defect (such as, missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragments. Use of Optune together with skull defects or bullet fragments has not been tested and may possibly lead to tissue damage or render Optune ineffective.
Use of Optune for GBM together with implanted electronic devices has not been tested and may lead to malfunctioning of the implanted device.
Do not use Optune for GBM in patients known to be sensitive to conductive hydrogels. Skin contact with the gel used with Optune may commonly cause increased redness and itching, and may rarely lead to severe allergic reactions such as shock and respiratory failure.
Warnings and Precautions
Optune can only be prescribed by a healthcare provider that has completed the required certification training provided by Novocure®.
The most common (≥10%) adverse events involving Optune in combination with chemotherapy in patients with GBM were thrombocytopenia, nausea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, convulsions, and depression.
The most common (≥10%) adverse events related to Optune treatment alone in patients with GBM were medical device site reaction and headache. Other less common adverse reactions were malaise, muscle twitching, and falls related to carrying the device.
If the patient has an underlying serious skin condition on the treated area, evaluate whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment.
Do not prescribe Optune for patients that are pregnant, you think might be pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, as the safety and effectiveness of Optune in these populations have not been established.
Novocure is a global oncology company working to extend survival in some of the most aggressive forms of cancer through the development and commercialization of its innovative therapy, Tumor Treating Fields. Tumor Treating Fields is a cancer therapy that uses electric fields to disrupt cancer cell division. Novocure’s commercialized products are approved for the treatment of adult patients with glioblastoma and malignant pleural mesothelioma. Novocure has ongoing or completed clinical trials investigating Tumor Treating Fields in brain metastases, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and liver cancer.
Headquartered in Jersey, Novocure has U.S. operations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Malvern, Pennsylvania and New York City. Additionally, the company has offices in Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Israel. For additional information about the company, please visit www.novocure.com or follow us at www.twitter.com%2Fnovocure.
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