A novel lung cancer test called Veristrat developed by Biodesix may help decrease expenses in lung cancer-related treatments in lifetime direct medical cost per patient. The conclusions are from a health-related economic study supported by the company that analyzed the effectiveness of the exams in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients and was recently published at the Lung Cancer journal.
The research entitled “Outcome and economic implications of proteomic test-guided second- or third-line treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Extended analysis of the PROSE trial” demonstrated that the test can be used to guide therapy and reduce medical costs by determining the patients who are less likely to benefit from Genentech’s EGFR inhibitor Tarceva (erlotinib) and by recommending them to initiate less expensive chemotherapies.
Veristrat’s test, which costs $3,260, may reduce the costs of drugs (by $4,098 per patient), active surveillance ($137) and the management of adverse effects ($567). The research led by Stanford University researcher John Hornberger was the result of an extended analysis of the PROSE study, which was a prospective clinical trial that analyzed the capacities of Veristrat in determining NSCLC patients’ response to therapy with erlotinib.
The senior author of the study explained that the savings in surveillance may seem like a relatively small amount, taking into account the $32,000 spent for every patient with the overall treatment. However, he believes that the savings with drugs have significant value, demonstrating the potential of the test. In addition, the savings can be used by Biodesix as a way of negotiating the coverage of the test with healthcare systems.
“There is a standard negotiation that goes on between these entities and the [test] manufacturer – how much of [the savings] should go to the [manufacturer], and how much should go to the payor,” stated Hornberger. “That’s going to be a standard negotiation, not an academic exercise. So they will look at the $4,000 and sit down with their contract people and say, ‘What do you think is a fair rate for that?'”
The Veristrat test is a blood-based proteomic exam created to determine the probability of good response to chemotherapy or EGFR inhibitors such as Tarceva in patients with NSCLC, which is run on a MALDI mass spectrum platform. Currently, the test is only covered by Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate Highmark. Veristrat is negotiating other co-payment deals.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act is according to the investigator a step forward in the evolution of the healthcare systems to support more patients with lung cancer and the use of Veristrat “Before the [ACA] it was largely a pay-for-service world and the healthcare systems were mostly hospital systems that were rewarded for higher volumes of care, more ER services, more hospitalization services,” he said.