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Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved an advanced treatment for mantle cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer affecting white blood cells. The one-time therapy, made by Gilead Sciences, is branded as Tecartus.

Why it matters: This is the third federal approval of a CAR-T therapy, a new-age cancer treatment in which a person's own immune system cells are extracted, reengineered, and then infused back into the person's bloodstream.

The big picture: The other CAR-T therapies on the market are Kymriah (made by Novartis) and Yescarta (also made by Gilead).

By the numbers: Gilead set the list price of Tecartus at $373,000, the same as Yescarta.

  • However, that does not include other extraneous hospitalization costs.
  • Both of these drugs were part of Kite Pharma, which Gilead bought in 2017 for almost $12 billion.

Between the lines: Gilead said 87% of people who received Tecartus in a clinical trial responded to the infusion, but almost one out of five patients also experienced severe side effects associated with this kind of immunotherapy.

  • The trial was not randomized because the cancer is rare, and consequently, the FDA required a warning for side effects and will closely watch the therapy for safety issues while it's on the market.

Go deeper

Medical ethics in pandemic times

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID-19 pandemic is rife with scientific and medical uncertainty, including debates about the ethics of using experimental treatments.

The big picture: As the global pandemic continues, the tension between providing the best available care for patients and performing trials to determine whether that care is effective risks complicating the medical response.

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.