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Japan approves 2 gene treatments in bid to catch up

Potential revolutionary treatments have exorbitant price tags

Gene therapies are expected to grow into a $15 billion market globally in 2024.

TOKYO -- Japan is nearing approval for a pair of highly anticipated gene therapies, but a debate over health care costs seems sure to follow amid the anticipated growth of such expensive treatments.

Experts in the health ministry issued preliminary approvals Wednesday for Collategene, a regenerative treatment for damaged arteries, as well as the anti-leukemia therapy Kymriah. The candidates next move to a formal certification, with drug prices to be set in May at the earliest.

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