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Australian lymphoma patients will now have access to a new frontline therapy for CLL

30 November 2020

The combination of VENCLEXTA plus obinutuzumab will be available as a fixed duration therapy for previously untreated patients with CLL who are unfit for chemotherapy.


The Em Effect welcomes the announcement by The Federal Minister for Health, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, that Venclexta® (venetoclax) in combination with obinutuzumab will be available to eligible Australians with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) as a first line therapy via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from the 1st December 2020.

This PBS listing will allow CLL patients who cannot be treated with standard chemotherapy-based treatments to have affordable access to this first line combination treatment. This targeted therapy will be especially beneficial for patients that are unfit or cannot tolerate chemotherapy due to side effects and other comorbidities.

The Government’s reimbursement of this combination as a first-line treatment reflects the continued effort to expand access to the range of targeted cancer treatments available to patients with blood cancer.

Venclexta was developed as part of a research collaboration between AbbVie, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group of Companies, and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor John Seymour, MBBS, Director of Clinical Haematology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, says the new listing for the locally discovered treatment is a positive development for cancer patients.

“This reimbursement represents another important milestone for Australia. Venclexta is the result of 30 years of research and collaboration. It is positive to see that this home-grown discovery has now evolved into a medicine that more Australians can have funded access to,” said Professor Seymour.

*Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a lymphoproliferative disorder hence it is classified as a lymphoma. It is an incurable lymphoma found in the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell involved in the body’s immune system. CLL is classified by the accumulation and rapid reproduction of clonal B cells in the blood, marrow and lymph nodes. The progression of CLL is extremely variable ranging from indolent (slow growing) disease not requiring treatment to one that progresses rapidly and is resistant to treatment.

AbbVie media release: 

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