Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) and Bayer AG (BAYN) said their medicine Eylea matched Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s Lucentis in fewer treatments after two years for people with the vision disorder wet age-related macular degeneration.
Patients on Eylea gained an average of 7.6 letters on an eye chart after 96 weeks, compared with 7.9 for those on Lucentis, Regeneron and Bayer said today in a statement. The drugs were injected on an as-needed basis in the second year, said George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s chief scientific officer.
Wet AMD, caused by abnormal blood vessel growth behind the retina, is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. U.S. regulators approved Eylea in November after two studies showed the drug, given once every two months after three initial monthly doses, improved eyesight over one year as well as Lucentis, dosed monthly. The results today showed patients on Eylea had fewer injections in the second year, at 4.2 on average compared with 4.7 for Lucentis.
“The study picked up the fact that, especially for the patients who needed more intense dosing, you could get by with substantially less injections with Eylea,” Yancopoulos said in a telephone interview. That “supports its longer duration of action.”
Both treatment arms showed an average loss of 0.8 letters on the eye chart between 52 weeks and 96 weeks, showing that as- needed dosing isn’t as effective as a fixed regimen, Yancopoulous said.
Regeneron, based in Tarrytown, New York, declined 3.2 percent to $58.28 at the close of trading on Dec. 2. The shares gained 78 percent this year before today. Bayer, based in Leverkusen, Germany, declined 0.1 percent to 47.30 euros, and had fallen 14 percent this year before today.
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