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Yervoy

Antibody blocking CTLA-4, and activating tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. CTLA-4 was discovered at UC Berkley in the mid-1990’s, however at the time, no pharmaceutical company was interested in this new product idea. Later, Berkley licensed it to NeXstar Pharmaceuticals in 1998. In 1999, NeXstar Pharmaceuticals sublicensed it to Medarex for $8.5 million US dollars. And then in 2009, Medarex was acquired by Bristol-Myers for $2.4 billion US dollars for its anti-CTLA-4 antibody program. Bristol-Myers received marketing authorization for the drug, under the name Yervoy, in March 2011; and, it became the first approved drug to treat metastatic melanoma.

Avastin 

Monoclonal antibody blocking angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels) in tumors (Genentech). Avastin has been approved for colon, breast and lung cancers. It has a price tag of $4,000-9,000 US dollars/month/patient. US insurance companies on average pay $100,000 US dollars/year per patient using the drug. Sales of Avastin for 2007 were: $2.3 billion US dollars in the US and $3.5 billion US dollars worldwide. On average, it prolongs life for 4.7 months.

Erbitux 

Monoclonal antibody blocking cell growth by targeting EGF receptors. Erbitux has been approved for colorectal plus head and neck cancers. Erbitux costs $17,000 US dollars /month/patient. 

Zevalin 

Monoclonal antibody delivering a radioactive isotope to cancer cells. Zevalin has been approved for lymphoma. Zevalin costs $24,000 US dollars/month/patient. 
  
 
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