Draft guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are backing the routine use of Incyte's Iclusig on the NHS to treat some patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

The independent appraisal committee has concluded that the drug can be considered a clinical and cost effective use of NHS resources when used to treat these rare forms of the disease, noting that it offers benefits over other treatments such as Pfizer's Bosulif (bosutinib).

In patients with CML, NICE has recommended the use of Iclusig (ponatinib): in adults with chronic phase CML who have the rare T315I mutation; and in those with accelerated or blast phase CML whose disease is resistant to dasatinib or nilotinib, or when they cannot these drugs or for whom imatinib is not clinically appropriate, or when the T315I gene mutation present.

In patients with Philadelphia chromosome positive ALL, Iclusig can be considered an option in adults when their disease is resistant to dasatinib, or they cannot have dasatinib or imatinib (if it is not clinically appropriate), or the T315I gene is present.

Iclusig is currently available to patients via the Cancer Drugs Fund; a final recommendation by NICE would enable the drug to enter the NHS' routine commissioning stream.

Incyte estimates that around 100 patients a year with CML and 33 patients with ALL would be eligible for treatment with its drug.