SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced positive new data from two global Phase III studies, BALATON and COMINO,evaluating Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa) in macular edema due to branch and central retinal vein occlusion (BRVO and CRVO) at 24 weeks. The studies showed that treatment with Vabysmo resulted in early and sustained improvement in vision, meeting the primary endpoint of non-inferior visual acuity gains compared to treatment with aflibercept. Vabysmo also showed rapid and robust drying of retinal fluid from baseline, as measured by reduction in central subfield thickness. The safety profile of Vabysmo was consistent with previous trials. Results will be presented virtually on February 11 at Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration 2023, organized by Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Florida.
“These encouraging results reinforce the potential of Vabysmo as a new treatment option for people experiencing vision loss associated with retinal vein occlusion”
“These encouraging results reinforce the potential of Vabysmo as a new treatment option for people experiencing vision loss associated with retinal vein occlusion,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “As these positive data continue to accrue, we believe Vabysmo may redefine the standard of care for multiple types of retinal conditions that can cause blindness.”
Wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), and RVO together affect around three million people in the United States and are among the leading causes of vision loss. Data from the BALATON and COMINO studies will be submitted to health authorities around the world, including the United States Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency, for approval for the treatment of macular edema due to RVO. If approved, this would be the third indication for Vabysmo, which is currently approved in more than 50 countries to treat wet AMD and DME.
“Retinal vein occlusion can cause fluid to become trapped within and under the retina, leading to rapid and severe vision loss if left untreated,” said Ramin Tadayoni, M.D., Ph.D., president-elect of EURETINA, who is presenting the data at Angiogenesis. “These promising results show that Vabysmo effectively reduces fluid in the retina and improves vision in patients with retinal vein occlusion.”
Vabysmo’s efficacy and safety in wet AMD and DME have been demonstrated by two-year data from four large, global studies involving more than 3,000 participants. Vabysmo is the only injectable eye medicine approved for wet AMD and DME by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the option for treatments from one to four months apart in the first year following four initial monthly loading doses, based on evaluation of the patient’s anatomy and vision outcomes. 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). Globally, more than 450,000 Vabysmo doses have been distributed for treatment of these conditions to date.
In the BALATON and COMINO studies, patients were randomized 1:1 to receive six monthly injections of either Vabysmo (6.0 mg) or aflibercept (2.0 mg) for 20 weeks, with the primary endpoint measured at week 24. Both studies met their primary endpoint, with Vabysmo showing non-inferior visual acuity gains compared to aflibercept. The average vision gains from baseline were comparable between the two treatments in both studies. In BALATON, vision gains were +16.9 eye chart letters in the Vabysmo arm and +17.5 letters in the aflibercept arm at 24 weeks. In COMINO, vision gains were +16.9 letters in the Vabysmo arm and +17.3 letters in the aflibercept arm at 24 weeks. Additionally, the percentage of patients gaining 15 or more letters was comparable across treatment arms in both studies.
Fluid in the retina in the back of the eye, which may result from blood vessel leakage, can cause swelling and blurry vision. A secondary endpoint showed that Vabysmo achieved rapid and robust drying of retinal fluid from baseline, as measured by reduction in central subfield thickness (CST). In both studies, reductions in CST were comparable across treatment arms. In BALATON, CST reductions were -311.4 μm in the Vabysmo arm and -304.4 μm in the aflibercept arm. In COMINO, CST reductions were -461.6 μm in the Vabysmo arm and -448.8 μm in the aflibercept arm. Additionally, both studies showed that more Vabysmo patients had an absence of blood vessel leakage in the retina compared to aflibercept patients as seen in a pre-specified exploratory endpoint. In BALATON, one-third of patients (34%) treated with Vabysmo had an absence of leakage compared to one-fifth (21%) of aflibercept patients. In COMINO, the rates were 44% for Vabysmo patients versus 30% for aflibercept patients.
In both studies, Vabysmo’s safety profile was consistent with previous trials. The most common adverse reaction was conjunctival hemorrhage (3%). Safety results were consistent across study arms.
The studies are ongoing, and data from weeks 24 to 72 will assess the potential of Vabysmo to extend dosing intervals up to every four months.
About the BALATON and COMINO Studies
BALATON and COMINO are two randomized, multicenter, double-masked, global Phase III studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Vabysmo®️ (faricimab-svoa) compared to aflibercept. For the first 20 weeks, patients are randomized 1:1 to receive six monthly injections of either Vabysmo (6.0 mg) or aflibercept (2.0 mg). From weeks 24 to 72, all patients receive Vabysmo (6.0 mg) up to every four months – according to a personalized treatment interval dosing regimen – using a treat-and-extend approach.
The BALATON study is being conducted in 553 patients with branch retinal vein occlusion. The COMINO study is being conducted in 729 patients with central retinal or hemiretinal vein occlusion.
The primary endpoint of each study is the change in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) from baseline at 24 weeks. Secondary endpoints include change in central subfield thickness from baseline over time up to 24 weeks.
About Retinal Vein Occlusion
Retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is the second most common cause of vision loss due to retinal vascular diseases. It affects more than one million people in the U.S., mainly those aged 50 or older, and can lead to severe and sudden vision loss. RVO typically results in sudden, painless vision loss in the affected eye because the vein blockage restricts normal blood flow in the affected retina, resulting in ischemia, bleeding, fluid leakage, and retinal swelling called macular edema. Currently, macular edema due to RVO is typically treated with repeated intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapies. There are two main types of RVO: branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), which affects an estimated 887,000 people in the U.S. and occurs when one of the four smaller “branches” of the main central retinal vein becomes blocked; and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO), which is less common, affecting an estimated 265,000 people in the U.S., and occurs when the eye’s central retinal vein becomes blocked.
About the Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa) Clinical Development Program
Genentech has a robust Phase III clinical development program for Vabysmo. The program includes AVONELLE-X, an extension study of TENAYA and LUCERNE evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in wet, or neovascular, macular degeneration (AMD), and RHONE-X, an extension study of YOSEMITE and RHINE evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in diabetic macular edema (DME). Genentech has also initiated several Phase IV studies, including the Elevatum study of Vabysmo in underrepresented patient populations with DME, the SALWEEN study of Vabysmo in a subpopulation of wet AMD highly prevalent in Asia, as well as the VOYAGER study, a global real-world data collection platform. Genentech also supports several other independent studies to further understand retinal conditions with a high unmet need.
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). While research is underway to better understand the role of the Ang-2 pathway in retinal disease, 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. 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
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 from baseline to week 100, 64 out of 1,262 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event.
The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) reported in patients receiving Vabysmo were cataract (15%) and 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
Patients may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
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 diseases.
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.