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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

SHTAC is critically appraising the company’s submission to NICE on a new drug for severe asthma

Published: 6 October 2016
It has been estimated that over 12% of the UK population have been diagnosed with asthma.

SHTAC is assessing the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of reslizumab in treating a severe type of asthma which is associated with elevated levels of specific white blood cells called eosinophils. Our independent assessment of the company’s submission is part of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Single Technology Appraisal process.


Asthma is a common, chronic respiratory disease and is one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide. The number of people affected by asthma in the UK is among the highest in the world, and it has been estimated that 8 million people (over 12% of the UK population) have been diagnosed with asthma and around 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for the disease. Management of asthma imposes a substantial burden on the NHS, and allergy studies have reported direct healthcare expenditure, driven mainly by asthma, of over £1 billion in England and Wales. Severe asthma can be difficult to treat and people who have severe asthma have limited treatment options available to them. In one type of severe asthma, elevated levels of white blood cells called eosinophils are associated with airway inflammation and worsening of asthma attacks.

The monoclonal antibody drug reslizumab (brand name ‘Cinqaero’®, Teva Pharmaceuticals) interferes with the body’s production of eosinophils and could improve asthma symptoms and lung function in patients with this type of severe asthma. Specifically, reslizumab inhibits the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 5 (IL-5) which plays a key role in supporting the development and activation of human eosinophil cells. Reslizumab has a marketing authorisation in the UK as an ‘add-on therapy in adult patients with severe eosinophilic asthma inadequately controlled despite high-dose inhaled corticosteroid plus another medicinal product for maintenance treatment’.

SHTAC is critically assessing the drug company’s evidence submission to NICE on the clinical-effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of reslizumab, to inform NICE’s guidance to the NHS, expected in April 2017.

For more information on SHTAC’s research into respiratory diseases please visit our Research page.



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