Trimeris Receives $7.5M Bill From Roche for Additional Costs of Supplying Antiretroviral Drug Fuzeon
April 22, 2004
Durham, N.C.-based biotechnology company Trimeris on Tuesday said it has received a $7.5 million bill from Swiss drug maker Roche -- the biotech firm's partner in developing and marketing the antiretroviral drug Fuzeon -- for additional costs related to drug supply, the Durham Herald-Sun reports (Durham Herald-Sun, 4/20). Roche and Trimeris jointly developed Fuzeon, which is in a class of drugs called fusion inhibitors and is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications. The drug has encountered resistance from doctors and patients because of its high cost and injection delivery method. The drug costs about $20,000 per patient per year. Roche says that the high cost of Fuzeon is attributable to its complex manufacturing process, which takes about six months and requires 44 different raw materials and more than 100 manufacturing steps (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/16). Trimeris said that the bill includes additional costs for supplying the drug during the past year and costs stemming from a charge in depreciation method on capital connected to the drug's development, according to the Herald-Sun. Officials said that the drug supply charges come from higher costs "early in Fuzeon's production," the Herald-Sun reports. Trimeris CEO Dani Bolognesi said, "We are currently in discussions with Roche regarding this claim," adding, "This is not a dispute. This is normal business" (Durham Herald-Sun, 4/20). Trimeris said in a release, "The ultimate resolution of this claim cannot presently be determined, nor can the ultimate liability be estimated at this time." Trimeris and Roche split profits from Fuzeon sales using a "complicated formula" that includes development and marketing expenses, Reuters reports.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.