How Receptive Are Retinal Specialists and Payers to Emerging Therapies Offering Vision Improvements or Greater Dosing Convenience?
Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies delivered via intravitreal injection revolutionized the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) such that the majority of treated patients now maintain visual acuity. In the past two years, mainstays of treatment—ranibizumab (Roche/Genentech/Novartis’s Lucentis) and off-label bevacizumab (Roche/Genentech/Chugai’s Avastin)—have been losing patient and market share to aflibercept (Regeneron/Bayer HealthCare’s Eylea); aflibercept, which also targets VEGF, has demonstrated in clinical trials that it can be dosed less frequently than ranibizumab. Opportunity remains, however, for wet AMD therapies that improve dosing frequency. Drug developers are also seeking investigational therapies offering alternative methods of delivery and drugs that not only maintain visual acuity, but also improve it beyond the degree that can be achieved with current agents.