The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended AbbVie’s Venclyxto (venetoclax) to benefit thousands of adults with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

The new treatment Venclyxto has been recommended with Rituxan (rituximab) for adults with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Venclyxto is a first-in-class, oral, once-daily medicine that selectively inhibits the function of the BCL-2 protein, restoring the body’s ability to trigger cancer cell self-destruction.

Currently the most common first line treatment for CLL is chemotherapy, with limited options after relapse.

Meindert Boysen, director of NICE’s Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “We are very pleased to announce another treatment option for people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will be available on the NHS.

“This is exciting and very important to people with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia where there are limited treatment options. I urge companies to seize opportunities for earlier engagement as part of our new appraisal process, so we can support access to these kind of treatments at an even faster rate.”

At the first committee meeting in September 2018, NICE said there were uncertainties with both the clinical evidence and the economic modelling provided, consequently rejecting the drug.

CLL is the most common form of leukaemia, with approximately 3,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK. Fortunately it is estimated that 1,000 people will be eligible for Venclyxto in the first year.

People will be able to access the combination from January 18th 2019, just four months after the treatment’s marketing authorisation was granted in October 2018.