Bluebird bio’s CEO, Andrew Obenshain, defends the 40% premium on the list price of the gene therapy Lyfgenia compared to competitors Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics. Obenshain highlights the outcomes-based contracts, where payment is contingent on the therapy’s effectiveness over three years, addressing concerns about the $3.1 million cost. Bluebird has secured major reimbursement deals with insurers covering 200 million people in the U.S. and has discussions with 15 Medicaid agencies. The company offers flexibility in contract terms and aims to expand its treatment centers for Lyfgenia from 35 to 48.

While Vertex hasn’t disclosed its reimbursement strategy for Casgevy, its sickle cell therapy developed with CRISPR, the company has signed an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Synergie Medication Collective covering 100 million people. Bluebird’s previous struggles with reimbursement in Europe led to its withdrawal from the region in 2021, citing expensive infrastructure and lower pricing in Germany. Obenshain expresses interest in potential European partnerships but remains focused on executing in the U.S. to explore European options.

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