JETREA® (ocriplasmin) solution for intravitreal injection now available to Canadian patients

JETREA® (ocriplasmin) solution for intravitreal injection now available to 
Canadian patients 

    --  First and only eye medicine to treat sight-threatening,
        symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion affecting 15,000 Canadians
        each year

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Alcon, the global leader in eye care 
and a division of Novartis, announced today that JETREA(® )(ocriplasmin) 
solution for intravitreal injection is now available to Canadians who suffer 
from symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion.(1,2 )Vitreomacular adhesion, or VMA, 
is an age-related, progressive and sight-threatening condition. If left 
untreated, it can be responsible for retinal distortion, decreased visual 
acuity, and vision deterioration, with the potential to cause irreversible 
vision loss or blindness.(3,4,5,6) It is estimated to affect up to 15,000 
people in Canada each year.(7 )Health Canada approved JETREA(® )on August 
13, 2013.

"Before JETREA(®), the only option we had for treating VMA was surgical 
intervention," said David Chow, MD, Retina Specialist and Director of the 
Toronto Retina Institute. "Now with the availability of JETREA(®), we have a 
non-surgical option that can be offered during the early stages of VMA, which 
can make a difference in terms of quality of life for people living with this 

JETREA(®) (ocriplasmin), a recombinant form of human protein (plasmin), works 
by targeting the protein fibers that cause the abnormal pull between the 
vitreous and the macula of the eye. By dissolving these proteins, JETREA(®) 
separates the vitreous from the macula, releasing the vitreomacular 
adhesion.(2,8) This one-time intravitreal injection has been shown to 
successfully resolve VMA.(1,2)

The Phase III studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 
showed that patients who were treated with JETREA(®) (ocriplasmin) 
successfully achieved resolution of VMA as compared to placebo at day 28.(1) 
In the integrated Full Analysis Set, 26.5% of the patients treated with 
JETREA(®) achieved resolution of VMA at Day 28 (versus 10.1% with placebo 

Side effects observed in the Phase III studies of JETREA(®) (ocriplasmin) 
were consistent with the release of traction and intravitreal injections. The 
most common Adverse Drug Reactions were consistent with pharmacologic 
vitreolysis, such as vitreous floaters, photopsia, or were due to 
inflammation/irritation resulting from either the injection procedure and/or 
the drug. These were generally considered mild to moderate and were resolved 
without complications.(1 )

"At the core of our corporate mission is to provide innovative products to 
improve the quality of life by helping people see better," said Alex Long, 
General Manager of Alcon Canada. "We are pleased to offer patients in Canada 
the first and only pharmacological treatment for this progressive eye disease."

Alcon acquired the rights to commercialize JETREA(®) injection outside the 
United States from the Belgian biopharmaceutical company, ThromboGenics, which 
retains the rights to commercialize the drug in the US. In October 2012, 
JETREA(®) intravitreal injection was approved in the US for the treatment of 
patients with symptomatic VMA. European approval for JETREA(®) (ocriplasmin) 
was granted in March 2013 for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), 
including when associated with macular hole equal to or smaller than 400 
microns. Healthcare professionals can access more information at

About VMA
As people get older, the vitreous (jelly-like material inside the eye that 
helps maintain the round shape) detaches naturally from the retina (the 
light-sensitive layer of tissue located at the back of the eyeball).(13) This 
detachment is part of the natural aging process and is common over the age of 

However, sometimes the vitreous remains attached to some areas of the retina, 
particularly at the macula, which is the area of the retina responsible for 
central vision needed for everyday tasks, such as driving, reading and 
recognizing faces. This is known as vitreomacular adhesion (VMA).(13)

If left unresolved, these areas of VMA can exert a 'pulling force' on the 
macula, a condition referred to as vitreomacular traction (VMT). In some 
cases, the pulling due to VMT may eventually tear the macula, leading to the 
formation of a macular hole.(2,13) Symptomatic VMA is a progressive condition 
that is often responsible for retinal distortion and deterioration in vision, 
and has the potential to cause irreversible damage or blindness.(3,4,5,6)

About Alcon 
Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that 
enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better. The three 
Alcon businesses - Surgical, Pharmaceutical and Vision Care - offer the widest 
spectrum of eye care products in the world. Alcon is the second largest 
division of the Novartis Group with pro-forma sales of USD 10 billion in 2011. 
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A, Alcon has 23,000 employees 
worldwide, operations in 75 countries and products available in 180 markets. 
For more information, visit

JETREA is a trademark of ThromboGenics N.V., licensed to Alcon


  1. Stalmans P, Benz MS, Gandorfer A et al. Enzymatic vitreolysis with
     ocriplasmin for vitreomacular traction and macular holes. N Engl J

 Med 2012;367:606-615
  2. Jetrea(®) Product Monograph, August 2013
  3. Schneider EW, Johnson MW. Emerging nonsurgical methods for the 
 treatment of vitreomacular adhesion: a review. Clin Ophthalmol. 
  4. Hikichi T, Yoshida A, Trempe C. Course of vitreomacular traction 
 syndrome. Am J Ophthalmol. 1995;119(1):55-61
  5. Carpineto P,Di Antonio L,Aharrh-Gnama A et al. Diagnosing and 
 Treating Vitreomacular Adhesion. Retina 2011 69-73
  6. Bottós, Juliana, et al. Vitreomacular Traction Syndrome. Journal 
 of Opthalmalic and Vision Research. 2012;7(2):148-161
  7. Alcon internal estimates/data on file
  8. Sebag J. Anomalous posterior vitreous detachment: a unifying 
 concept in vitreo-retinal disease. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp 
 Ophthalmol. (2004) 242:690-698
  9. ICO Guidelines MH 2010/A - ICO International Clinical Guidelines. 
 November 2010
 10. Sugiyama A, et al. Reappraisal of spontaneous closure rate of 
 idiopathic full-thickness macular holes. Open Ophthalmol J. 
 11. Barak Y, Ihnen M, Schaal S. Spectral domain optical coherence 
 tomography in the diagnosis and management of vitreoretinal 
 interface pathologies. J Ophthalmol. 2012.doi:10.1155/2012/876472
 12. Gallemore RP, et al. Diagnosis of vitreoretinal adhesions in 
 macular disease with optical coherence tomography. Retina. 2000;20 
 (2): 115-120
 13. Dugel P. Retina Today April 2012;50
 14. Data on file, Summary of Clinical Overview. ThromboGenics Inc, 

SOURCE  Alcon Canada Inc. 
Media Inquiries: Donna Lorenson Alcon U.S./Canada Communications 
Matt Roth MSLGROUP 416.847.1305 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
CO: Alcon Canada Inc.
ST: Ontario
-0- Nov/20/2013 16:06 GMT
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.