Sometimes it seems that retina research moves at a snail’s pace, but science is steadily moving toward those treatments and cures that will keep our eyes healthy. This is an update on four therapeutics just around the corner for treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Of the hundreds of ongoing clinical trials for both wet and dry AMD, these are the ones offering the most hope in the coming months.
Regenxbio’s RGX-314 uses a new method of inhibiting blood vessel growth (neovascularization) in wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD). It differs from current therapeutics in that it includes a gene vector (NAV AAV8) which encodes an antibody fragment designed to neutralize VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) activity. As of December 31, 2020, delivery of RGX-314 was reported to be generally well-tolerated, with no evidence of inflammation. More information.
Roche has been studying faricimab for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD). The efficacy of faricimab administered at 12- and 16-week intervals was evaluated against ranibizumab (Lucentis) every 4 weeks. By January 2021, research had shown that people receiving faricimab injections at fixed intervals of up to every 16 weeks achieved visual acuity outcomes as effective as those receiving Regeneron’s aflibercept (Eylea) injections every eight weeks. Roche looks forward to submitting the data to global regulatory authorities, with the aim of bringing this new treatment option as soon as possible to patients. More information.
Port Delivery System
Developed by Genentech, the Port Delivery System (PDS) is a permanent eye implant about the size of a grain of rice that continuously releases a modified version of Lucentis. Once FDA approved, patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) would visit their doctors only twice a year to refill the device–a significantly less burdensome and costly protocol. Rollout of the PDS occurred in October 2021 under the name Vabysmo. In October 2022, however, Genentech voluntarily withdrew it from the market until further study could be done to improve the mechanics of the device.
Apellis reported in August 2017 that injections of APL-2 demonstrated a significant slowing of the progression of dry age-related macular degeneration (atrophic AMD). Then, in October 2020, a phase 2 analysis found that the monthly treatment reduced the rate of progression to geographic atrophy (GA) by 39 percent in areas of the retina outside of existing GA lesions. Top-line results are expected in the third quarter of 2021.
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