BARCELONA, Spain | Sep 19, 2006 | The Business Intelligence firm La Merie S.L. reported that the antibody fragment ranibizumab (Lucentis) targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the first and only drug to achieve significant improvement of visual acuity in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) threatened by blindness. The high price treatment holds the promise of a large market size and, thus, has attracted a full pipeline of competitor drugs directed against the same and novel targets totalling 24 IND and clinical stage projects and at least 20 preclinical stage projects. Competitor drugs have to be at least as effective as Lucentis before the ease of administration offered a competitive advantage. These results and more were found in a competitor analysis conducted by La Merie Business Intelligence. The findings of the search can be acquired at www.pipelinereview.com, La Merie’s News Center and Online Store.
The ability of Lucentis to prevent deterioration of visual acuity in nearly all treated patients and to achieve improvement of visual acuity in 35 to 40 % of treated patients, makes it the drug of choice for treatment of wet AMD. However, prospective annual treatment costs of US$ 23,400.- urged the off-label use of its parent antibody Avastin at a fraction of Lucentis costs due to the mini-dosis required in AMD. As Avastin license holders do not plan clinical evaluation of Avastin in AMD, the NIH is considering funding a study to compare results of AMD therapies with Lucentis and Avastin. Another downside of Lucentis is the necessity of monthly intravitreal injections to be given under aseptic conditions which makes it less ideal for prophylactic uses or prolonged use for prevention of AMD progression.
RNA-based anti-VEGF therapies pegaptanib sodium and bevasiranib appear to be inferior to Lucentis because pegaptanib does not improve visual acuity and bevasiranib is associated with an initial delay of onset of activity due to its mode of action. Small molecule inhibitors of the VEGF receptor-2 tyrosine kinase (tk) and of multi-tik inhibitors which are in clinical and preclinical development, open the possibility to avoid intravitreal injections and instead to use eye drop application, oral dosing or minimally invasive sub-tenon or peri-ocular injections. These more convenient and safer ways of drug is also used for small molecule agents directed at other targets and allowing evaluation of the potential for prophylactic treatment.
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La Merie S.L. is a Business Intelligence enterprise fully dedicated to provide high quality R&D information to the biopharmaceutical industry. La Merie offers individual consultancy services and publishes reports and periodicals. For more information visit www.lamerie.com.
SOURCE: La Merie Business Intelligence
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