FDA Approves Genentech’s Vabysmo, the First Bispecific Antibody for the Eye, to Treat Two Leading Causes of Vision Loss

·13 min read

Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa) targets and inhibits two disease pathways that drive wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) –

Vabysmo is the only injectable eye medicine approved simultaneously in the US for wet AMD and DME, with flexible dosing regimens based on patient need –

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., January 28, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Vabysmo(faricimab-svoa) for the treatment of wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME). Wet AMD and DME are two leading causes of vision loss among U.S. adults. Vabysmo targets and inhibits two disease pathways linked to a number of vision-threatening retinal conditions by neutralizing angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). Vabysmo is the first and only FDA-approved injectable eye medicine for wet AMD and DME that improves and maintains vision with treatments from one to four months apart in the first year following four initial monthly doses, based on evaluation of the patient’s anatomy and vision outcomes. Standard of care for wet AMD and DME typically requires eye injections every one to two months.

"Vabysmo represents an important step forward for ophthalmology. It is the first bispecific antibody approved for the eye and a major advance in treating retinal conditions such as wet AMD and diabetic macular edema," said Charles Wykoff, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Research at Retina Consultants of Texas in Houston and a Vabysmo Phase III investigator. "With Vabysmo, we now have the opportunity to offer patients a medicine that could improve their vision, potentially lowering treatment burden with fewer injections over time."

The approval is based on positive results across four Phase III studies in wet AMD and DME. The studies consistently showed that patients treated with Vabysmo given at intervals of up to four months achieved non-inferior vision gains versus aflibercept given every two months in the first year. Vabysmo was generally well tolerated in all four studies, with a favorable benefit-risk profile. The most common adverse reaction (≥5%) reported in patients receiving Vabysmo was conjunctival hemorrhage (7%). Two scientific papers and an editorial on these one-year results were recently published in The Lancet.

Vabysmo is designed to block pathways involving Ang-2 and VEGF-A. Ang-2 and VEGF-A are thought to contribute to vision loss by destabilizing blood vessels, which may cause new leaky blood vessels to form and increase inflammation. While additional research continues, inhibition of both pathways has been shown in preclinical studies to have potentially complementary benefits, stabilizing vessels and thereby reducing vessel leakage and inflammation.

"Vabysmo provides a new approach to treating vision-threatening retinal conditions through a mechanism of action that targets two pathways simultaneously," said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. "This is our second FDA approval in ophthalmology in recent months, underscoring our commitment to people living with retinal conditions."

With Vabysmo, people with wet AMD initially receive four monthly treatments. Based on anatomical and vision outcomes, they may receive subsequent treatments every two, three or four months. People with DME are initially given four monthly treatments. Subsequently their treatment may be extended or reduced based on anatomical and vision outcomes, with a range of one to four months between doses. A second approved treatment regimen for DME involves six monthly loading doses, followed by treatment every two months. Some people with wet AMD and DME may be treated monthly if needed, although additional efficacy was not demonstrated in most patients given Vabysmo every month.

Genentech has ongoing long-term extension studies for Vabysmo in people with wet AMD and DME. These include AVONELLE-X, an extension study of TENAYA and LUCERNE evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in wet AMD, and RHONE-X, an extension study of YOSEMITE and RHINE evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in DME. Additionally, the COMINO and BALATON trials are also underway, evaluating the efficacy and safety of Vabysmo in people with macular edema following retinal vein occlusion.

Vabysmo will be available in the United States in the coming weeks. The European Medicines Agency is also currently evaluating the Vabysmo Marketing Authorization Application for the treatment of wet AMD and DME.

Genentech is committed to helping people access the medicines they are prescribed and will be offering comprehensive services for people prescribed Vabysmo to help minimize barriers to access and reimbursement. Patients can call 833-EYE-GENE for more information. For people who qualify, Genentech plans to offer patient assistance programs through Genentech Access Solutions. More information is also available at 866-4ACCESS/866-422-2377 or http://www.Genentech-Access.com.

About the TENAYA and LUCERNE Studies

TENAYA (NCT03823287) and LUCERNE (NCT03823300) are two identical, randomized, multicenter, double-masked, global Phase III studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Vabysmo compared to aflibercept in 1,329 people living with wet age-related macular degeneration (671 in TENAYA and 658 in LUCERNE). The studies each have two treatment arms: Vabysmo 6.0 mg administered at intervals of two, three, or four months, following four initial monthly doses, selected based on objective assessment of disease activity as measured by optical coherence tomography and visual acuity evaluations at weeks 20 and 24; and aflibercept 2.0 mg administered at fixed two-month intervals after three initial monthly doses. In both arms, sham injections were administered at study visits when treatment injections were not scheduled, to maintain the masking of investigators and participants.

The primary endpoint of the studies is the average change in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) score (the best distance vision a person can achieve – including with correction such as glasses – when reading letters on an eye chart) from baseline, averaged over weeks 40, 44 and 48. Secondary endpoints include: safety; the percentage of participants in the Vabysmo arm receiving treatment every two, three and four months; the percentage of participants achieving a gain, and the percentage avoiding a loss, of 15 letters or more in BCVA from baseline over time; change in central subfield thickness (CST) from baseline over time; and change in total area of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) lesion and leakage from baseline over time.

Both studies met their primary endpoint, with Vabysmo given at intervals of up to every four months consistently shown to offer visual acuity gains that were non-inferior to aflibercept given every two months. In TENAYA and LUCERNE, the average vision gains from baseline at one year in the Vabysmo arms were +5.8 and +6.6 letters, respectively, compared to +5.1 and +6.6 letters in the aflibercept arms.

The studies also measured the proportion of people in the Vabysmo arm that were treated on dosing schedules of every three or four months during the first year. In both studies, comparable reductions in central subfield thickness (CST) and CNV size and area of leakage were observed with Vabysmo given at intervals of up to four months versus aflibercept given every two months in the first year. Vabysmo was generally well-tolerated in both studies, with a favorable benefit-risk profile. In TENAYA and LUCERNE, the most common adverse reactions (≥3% of patients) included conjunctival hemorrhage, vitreous floaters, retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) tears, increase of intraocular pressure and eye pain. Safety results were consistent across study arms.

About the YOSEMITE and RHINE Studies

YOSEMITE (NCT03622580) and RHINE (NCT03622593) are two identical, randomized, multicenter, double-masked, global Phase III studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Vabysmo compared to aflibercept in 1,891 people with diabetic macular edema (940 in YOSEMITE and 951 in RHINE). The studies each have three treatment arms: Vabysmo 6.0 mg administered up to every four months after four initial monthly doses using a treat-and-extend approach; Vabysmo 6.0 mg administered at two-month intervals after six initial monthly doses; and aflibercept administered at fixed two-month intervals after five initial monthly doses. Dosing schedule for patients within the treat-and-extend arm was determined by CST and visual acuity. In all three arms, sham injections were administered at study visits when treatment injections were not scheduled, to maintain the masking of investigators and participants.

The primary endpoint of the studies is the average change in BCVA score from baseline at one year, averaged over weeks 48, 52 and 56. Secondary endpoints included: safety; the percentage of participants in the treat-and-extend arm receiving Vabysmo every one, two, three and four months, at week 52; the percentage of participants achieving a two-step or greater improvement from baseline in diabetic retinopathy severity at week 52; the percentage of participants achieving a gain, and the percentage avoiding a loss, of 15 letters or more in BCVA from baseline over time; change in CST from baseline over time; and percentage of patients with absence of intraretinal fluid over time.

Both studies met their primary endpoint, with Vabysmo at intervals of up to every four months consistently shown to offer visual acuity gains that were non-inferior to aflibercept given every two months. In YOSEMITE, the average vision gains from baseline at one year were +11.6 and +10.7 eye chart letters in the Vabysmo treat-and-extend and two-month arms, respectively, and +10.9 letters in the aflibercept arm. In RHINE, the average vision gains from baseline at one year were +10.8 and +11.8 letters in the Vabysmo treat-and-extend and two-month arms, respectively, and +10.3 letters in the aflibercept arm.

A secondary endpoint in both studies measured the proportion of people in the Vabysmo treat-and-extend arm that achieved dosing schedules of every three or four months at the end of the first year. In both studies, greater reductions in CST and intraretinal fluid were observed with Vabysmo given at intervals of up to four months versus aflibercept given every two months in the first year. Vabysmo was generally well-tolerated in both studies, with a favorable benefit-risk profile. In YOSEMITE and RHINE, the most common adverse reactions (≥3% of patients) included conjunctival hemorrhage, vitreous floaters and increase of intraocular pressure. Safety results were consistent across study arms.

About Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that affects the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for activities like reading, and is a leading cause of blindness for people aged 60 and over in the United States. Wet, or neovascular, AMD is an advanced form of the disease that can cause rapid and severe vision loss if left untreated. Approximately 11 million people in the United States have some form of AMD, and of those, about 1.1 million have wet AMD.

Wet AMD is caused by growth of abnormal blood vessels, also referred to as choroidal neovascularization (CNV), into the macula. These vessels leak fluid and blood and cause scar tissue that destroys the central retina. This process results in a deterioration of sight over a period of months to years.

About Diabetic Macular Edema

Affecting approximately 750,000 people in the United States, diabetic macular edema (DME) is a vision-threatening retinal condition associated with blindness and decreased quality of life when left untreated. DME occurs when damaged blood vessels in the retina leak into and cause swelling in the macula – the central area of the retina responsible for the sharp vision needed for reading and driving. The number of people with DME is expected to grow as the prevalence of diabetes increases.

About Vabysmo™ (faricimab-svoa)

Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa) is the first bispecific antibody approved for the eye. It targets and inhibits two disease pathways linked to a number of vision-threatening retinal conditions by neutralizing angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). Ang-2 and VEGF-A contribute to vision loss by destabilizing blood vessels, causing new leaky blood vessels to form and increasing inflammation. By blocking pathways involving Ang-2 and VEGF-A, Vabysmo is designed to stabilize blood vessels.

Vabysmo U.S. Indications

Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa) is a prescription medicine given by injection into the eye, used to treat adults with neovascular (wet) age‑related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

Important Safety Information

Contraindications

Vabysmo is contraindicated in patients who have an infection in or around their eye, have active swelling around their eye that may include pain and redness, or are allergic to Vabysmo or any of the ingredients in Vabysmo.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Injections like the one for Vabysmo can cause an eye infection (endophthalmitis) or separation of layers of the retina (retinal detachment). Patients should seek medical care if they experience increasing eye pain, vision loss, sensitivity to light, or redness in the white of the eye.

  • Vabysmo may cause a temporary increase in pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure), which occurs 60 minutes after the injection.

  • Although not common, Vabysmo patients have had serious, sometimes fatal, problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes (thromboembolic events). In clinical studies for wet AMD during the first year, 7 out of 664 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event. In DME studies during the first year, 25 out of 1,262 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reaction (≥5%) reported in patients receiving Vabysmo was blood on the white of the eye (conjunctival hemorrhage, 7%). These are not all the possible side effects of Vabysmo.

Pregnancy, Lactation, Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

  • Based on how Vabysmo interacts with your body, there may be a potential risk to an unborn baby. Patients should use birth control before their first injection, during their treatment with Vabysmo, and for 3 months after their last dose of Vabysmo.

  • It is not known if Vabysmo passes into breast milk. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about the best way to feed their baby if they receive Vabysmo.

Patients may report side effects to the FDA at 800-FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. Patients may also report side effects to Genentech at 888-835-2555.

Please see additional Important Safety Information in the full Vabysmo Prescribing Information.

About Genentech in Ophthalmology

Genentech is researching and developing new treatments for people living with a range of eye diseases that cause significant visual impairment and blindness, including wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy (DR), geographic atrophy (GA) and other retinal conditions.

About Genentech

Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220128005009/en/

Contacts

Media Contact:
Shirley Dang, (650) 467-6800

Advocacy Contact:
Danielle Haney, (240) 805-4810

Investor Contacts:
Loren Kalm, (650) 225-3217
Karl Mahler, +41 61 687 8503