"One day every cancer patient will use our product"

Publication Date30 Dec 2020
AuthorGali Weinreb
NovoCure's market cap makes it the third most valuable Israeli company traded on Wall Street, after Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) and NICE Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: NICE; TASE: NICE). Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), once the undisputed leader among Israeli companies, is currently only tenth, and long-established Israeli-American company Perrigo is worth only a third of the value of NovoCure. Amid dozens of failures of Israeli healthcare companies on their way to the stock market, NovoCure shows what heights this sector can reach.

Asaf Danziger, who has been NovoCure's CEO almost since its inception two decades ago, seems a little embarrassed when asked to comment directly on these figures. "Market cap is very nice, but it's not the main thing as far as we're concerned," he says in a rare interview with "Globes". "Certainly when you look at the comparison with a company like Teva, which has sales of more than $1 billion a quarter and touches so many people," he adds.

NovoCure does not yet have Teva's numbers. In the first nine months of 2020, it had revenue of $350 million, 38% more than in the corresponding period of 2019. This revenue is based on 3,300 active patients at the end of the period, who made a monthly payment for the treatment. This looks like a very small number of patients, in comparison with the company's market potential in the type of cancer it treats, and even smaller in comparison with the range of types of cancer it could treat in the future.

The company's product is currently sold for the treatment of glioblastoma, or cancer of the brain. "About 29% of the patients that manage to persist with the treatment survive for five years after treatment starts, which compares with 4-5% who survived for five years from the date of diagnosis before our product reached the market. This product has demonstrably changed the outcome of this aggressive disease," says Danziger.

The product is approved for marketing for the treatment of glioblastoma in the US, Japan, China, and in several European countries, as well as in Israel. It is covered by private and state health insurance in all these countries. It became part of the Israeli "health basket" in 2020.

This year, the product was approved for the treatment of mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer caused by asbestos. The success in clinical trials and in obtaining approval for this indication demonstrated that the company's technological concept would...

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