In OptumRx’s latest Drug Pipeline Report, the UnitedHealth Group-owned PBM highlights a pair of drugs that offer long-sought treatments for two forms of liver disease. Because those diseases are so uncommon, the price of those drugs is likely to be quite high.

The drugs in question are Bylvay (odevixibat), which the FDA approved on July 20, and maralixibat, which the agency is expected to approve in late September. Bylvay, which is manufactured by Albireo Pharma, Inc., is the first drug approved for treating pruritus — or persistent itchiness — in all subtypes of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC), a group of three related genetic disorders. Mirum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s maralixibat, if approved, would be the first treatment for patients ages 1 year and older with Alagille Syndrome (ALGS), a rare genetic disorder in which bile ducts are abnormally narrow, malformed and reduced in number.

PFIC and ALGS damage the liver and cause bile acids to accumulate, which prevents the liver from working properly to eliminate waste from the bloodstream, and both conditions lead to progressive liver disease and potentially liver failure, according to OptumRx’s quarterly report.

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