NICE throws a wrench in Takeda's Ninlaro growth plans with second rejection

Takeda building
Takeda recently convinced NICE to reverse a negative decision on Adcetris.

Last year, Takeda CEO Christophe Weber told investors that multiple myeloma med Ninlaro (ixazomib) would surpass blockbuster Velcade as the company’s biggest-ever cancer product. But for now, it looks like it’ll have to do it without the help of England’s NHS.

RELATED: Takeda CEO says new myeloma drug Ninlaro will be 'significantly bigger than Velcade'

Tuesday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence again shot down the med in combination with Celgene’s Revlimid and chemo dexamethasone for myeloma patients who have received one or more previous therapies, determining that Ninlaro didn’t meet all necessary criteria for inclusion in the watchdog’s Cancer Drugs Fund.

The Japanese drugmaker “expressed its disappointment” in a statement, adding that it “continues to be fully committed to working closely with NICE, NHS England and the myeloma community during the consultation period and will do everything in their power to secure patient access to ixazomib.

RELATED: New myeloma meds offer improvement, but are far too expensive: report

Takeda knows what it takes to change minds at the cost-effectiveness gatekeeper. Just last month, it convinced NICE to flip-flop on a negative coverage decision for lymphoma product Adcetris. A confidential discount—the kind usually required to secure a NICE about-face—factored into the equation.

Backing from NICE could become even more important to Takeda as it looks to globalization as a lynchpin for revenue expansion. Other countries often follow NICE’s lead when it comes to their own coverage decisions.

“Instead of launching a new product in two countries, in three countries, we are launching these products globally. That's very key to growth in the future," Weber told CNBC earlier this week.