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UK cost agency backs Medivation, Astellas prostate cancer pill

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's healthcare cost watchdog NICE has recommended that a new prostate cancer pill from Medivation and Astellas should be used on the state health service.

The draft guidance is conditional on Xtandi being provided at an undisclosed discount to the list price of 2,734.67 pounds ($4,400) for 28 days supply, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said on Friday.

Xtandi, known chemically as enzalutamide, is designed to treat advanced prostate cancer in patients who have previously received chemotherapy.

It is one of four new life-extending prostate cancer drugs that researchers from Britain's Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have helped to develop in recent years. The others are Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga, Sanofi's Jevtana, and Xofigo from Algeta and Bayer.

Alan Ashworth, chief executive of the ICR, said these drugs offered hope for men after decades in which there had been no options once old-style hormone treatment stopped working.

"What we're seeing now is an unprecedented period of success for prostate cancer research," he said. "It truly is a golden age for prostate cancer drug discovery and development."

Zytiga is already recommended by NICE but Jevtana was rejected as not being cost-effective. The agency has yet to give its verdict on Xofigo, which is on sale in the United States but not yet launched in Europe.

($1 = 0.6278 British pounds)

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Evans)

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