Patients in England and Wales will now be able to access Takeda’s myeloma treatment Ninlaro on the NHS, after cost regulators cleared its use through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

Ninlaro (ixazomib), a proteasome inhibitor and the first oral drug of its kind, has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for use in combination with lenalidomide (Revlimid) and dexamethasone for patients with myeloma who have received two or three prior treatments.

A number of trials have shown that patients treated with a novel three-drug combination may live longer without their disease worsening, compared to two-drug combinations, Takeda noted.

Myeloma UK said the “landmark decision” marks the first time that a “triplet” combination including two novel treatments has been approved for use to treat the condition in the UK.

“Myeloma UK has worked long and hard to help deliver access for patients to novel “triplet” treatments, which are becoming the international standard of care in myeloma. It has been a source of concern that, up until now, patients in the UK have been unable to access them,” said the charity’s chief executive Rosemarie Finley.

“We commend Takeda, NICE and NHS England for their efforts to explore every option for approval and thank all those patients who shared their experiences with us so that decision makers could understand what this treatment will mean to patients and their families.”

Around 1,700 myeloma patients in England meet the criteria for treatment each year and could potentially benefit from the decision.

Earlier this year, NICE rejected the drug on the grounds that only limited clinical data were available, and it remained unclear whether Ninlaro prolongs life compared with the current treatment for people who have had two or three therapies.

Takeda said it is confident that the ongoing clinical trials of the drug, combined with data collected in the real world setting, will be able to demonstrate its full value “and ensure a transition to baseline commissioning at the end of the CDF funding period”.

“This is a significant step in the right direction for England to catch up with the rest of the developed world in offering effective medicines to multiple myeloma patients,” the firm noted.