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Pricey Provenge Pumps Up Dendreon

Brian Orelli
April 30, 2010

Second time's the charm for Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN  ) ; the Food and Drug Administration approved its prostate cancer treatment, Provenge, yesterday.

Earlier this week, I said that shares would probably jump on approval of Provenge simply because there was some chance of a rejection. But I wasn't expecting Dendreon to jump quite that much. Shares closed up more than 26% after the early afternoon announcement, and they're up a further 13% this morning.

Then again, I wasn't expecting the company to charge $93,000 for the three-infusion treatment. That's a steep price for a drug that's only shown to extend lives by an average of 4.1 months.

Cancer drugs have gotten expensive over the past couple of years, but Provenge's sticker price seems awfully high. An article in The New York Times last year pegged the cost of Eli Lilly (