Eisai Co., Ltd (OTCMKTS:ESALY) has partnered with Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) to help market its kidney cancer drug called Lenvima in the U.S., but the companies didn’t disclose the sales terms of their agreement. However, Lenvima will be sold as a combination treatment with Novartis’ Afinitor for advanced renal cell carcinoma.
The partnership between Eisai and Novartis appears to advance the idea that scientists recently communicated that combination regimen was more effective in fighting cancer than using single drugs. But what could hold off the approach of using a combination of multiple drugs to tackle cancer is the potentially higher costs for hospitals and patients. Some observers have also worried that multiple combination regimens could heighten pressure on pharma companies over their drug pricing practices. But some drug companies have hinted at the possibility of reducing drug costs in multiple drug combination treatments by offering discounts.
In the case of the Eisai-Novartis partnership, the companies have agreed to market their drugs jointly as a combination therapy for doctors for kidney cancer indications. Specifically, Eisai will be taking advantage of Novartis’ powerful sales engine to increase the sales of Lenvima in the U.S.
The companies said that each one of them will book the sales of their respective drugs. But in the market, they will cooperate in getting hospitals to prescribe their drugs as combination regimens. Because the companies didn’t reveal the finer details of their collaboration, it is not easy to tell who is getting what from the partnership arrangement.
Eisai wants a bigger slice of the U.S. marketm which is lucrative for the kind of oncology products that it sells. The company expanded its presence in the U.S. oncology industry through the purchase of certain cancer products from Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:LGND) about a decade ago.