|– First Major Treatment Advance in More Than 25 Years for Sight-Threatening Condition –|
South San Francisco, Calif. — August 10, 2012 — Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that Lucentis® (ranibizumab injection) was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), an eye condition in people with diabetes that causes blurred vision, severe vision loss and sometimes blindness. Diabetes is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American adults1 and DME is estimated to affect more than 560,000 Americans with the disease.2
Lucentis is the first and only FDA-approved medicine for DME, a condition for which the standard of care has not changed significantly in more than 25 years. To date, the standard of care in the U.S. for DME has been laser surgery, which slows the rate of vision loss and helps stabilize vision, but has demonstrated only limited ability to restore lost vision.3
“For the first time, Americans with diabetic macular edema will have access to an FDA-approved medicine shown to help many patients rapidly regain substantial amounts of lost vision,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development. “We developed Lucentis to treat diseases of the eye and are pleased to have received this third U.S. indication to help a new population of people whose eyesight may be affected by diabetes.”
“This approval is an important advancement in the fight against blindness for people with diabetes,” said David M. Brown M.D., Retinal Specialist at The Methodist Hospital, Houston Texas, and clinical trial investigator. “Now that it will be available, Lucentis therapy can begin to make a difference in the lives of our patients with DME.”
Lucentis 0.5 mg once monthly was first approved by the FDA for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2006 and for macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO) in 2010. Lucentis 0.3 mg once monthly was approved for DME, and physicians can order immediately with shipments expected to begin August 15.
Lucentis Efficacy in DME
The approval of Lucentis in DME was based on Genentech¿s Phase III trials, RIDE and RISE, two identically-designed, parallel, double-masked, three-year clinical trials, which were sham-treatment controlled for 24 months. A total of 759 patients were randomized into three groups to receive monthly treatment with 0.3 mg Lucentis (n=250), 0.5 mg Lucentis (n=252) or sham injection (control group, n=257). Primary outcomes were evaluated at 24 months and have been published in Ophthalmology.4
In the studies, treatment with Lucentis demonstrated improved clinical outcomes including substantial visual gain for many DME patients. Results showed patients who received 0.3 mg Lucentis experienced significant, early (Day 7) and sustained (24 months) improvements in vision:
For all time points comparing 0.3 mg Lucentis to control through Month 24 p < 0.01.
Although uncommon, trends toward increased rates of arteriothromboembolic events (ATEs) such as vascular death, deaths of unknown cause, nonfatal heart attacks and nonfatal strokes, have been observed in prior studies of Lucentis in other diseases.
Pooled analyses also showed the rate of fatal events (death from any cause) in patients treated in the DME trials was low, and many causes of death were not unusual for patients with advanced diabetes complications. However, a potential relationship between the events and intravitreal use of VEGF inhibitors cannot be excluded. The rate of fatalities at 24 months was 2.8 percent, 0.3 mg versus 1.2 percent, control. The rate of fatalities at 36 months was 4.4 percent for patients in the 0.3 mg treatment group.
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