Phase 3 study of VEGF Trap-Eye regimen meets primary endpoint in patients with wet AMD

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: REGN) and Bayer HealthCare announced that in two parallel Phase 3 studies in patients with the neovascular form of age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), all regimens of VEGF Trap-Eye (aflibercept ophthalmic solution), including VEGF Trap-Eye dosed every two months, successfully met the primary endpoint compared to the current standard of care, ranibizumab dosed every month.  The primary endpoint was statistical non-inferiority in the proportion of patients who maintained (or improved) vision over 52 weeks compared to ranibizumab.

Further results will be presented at the Angiogenesis Conference in February 2011.  Bayer HealthCare and Regeneron are planning to submit regulatory applications for marketing approval in Europe and the U.S. in the first-half of 2011 based on the positive results of the VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 trials.

In the North American VIEW 1 study, 96 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 0.5mg monthly, 95 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg monthly, and 95 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg every two months achieved maintenance of vision compared to 94 percent of patients receiving ranibizumab 0.5mg dosed every month.  In the international VIEW 2 study, 96 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 0.5mg monthly, 96 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg monthly, and 96 percent of patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg every two months achieved maintenance of vision compared to 94 percent of patients receiving ranibizumab 0.5mg dosed every month.  Visual acuity was measured as a score based on the total number of letters read correctly on the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) eye chart, a standard chart used in research to measure visual acuity, over 52 weeks.  Maintenance of vision was defined as losing fewer than three lines (equivalent to 15 letters) on the ETDRS eye chart.

"The currently available anti-VEGF therapies have significantly advanced the treatment of wet AMD, actually improving vision in many patients.  However, monthly injections are required to optimize and maintain vision gain over the long-term," said Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Eye Hospital in Vienna, Austria and the VIEW 2 Principal Investigator.  "The results of the VIEW studies indicate that VEGF Trap-Eye could establish a new treatment paradigm for the management of patients with wet AMD --- predictable every-other-month dosing without the need for intervening monitoring or dosing visits."

"In an effort to avoid the inconvenience of monthly office visits and the burden of monthly injections into the eye for their wet AMD patients, retinal specialists have tried to extend the benefits of the existing anti-VEGF therapy with less frequent dosing.  A growing body of data suggests that this practice may result in inconsistent visual acuity outcomes," said Jeffrey Heier, M.D., a clinical ophthalmologist and retinal specialist at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, Assistant Professor of ophthalmology at Tufts School of Medicine, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the VIEW 1 trial.  "A critical goal of these studies was to demonstrate that VEGF Trap-Eye could achieve robust improvements in vision and maintain them over time with a more convenient every-other-month dose.  Achievement of this goal could be important for patients, care givers, and physicians."

In the VIEW 1 study, patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg monthly achieved a statistically significant greater mean improvement in visual acuity at week 52 versus baseline (secondary endpoint), compared to ranibizumab 0.5mg monthly; patients receiving VEGF Trap-Eye 2mg monthly on average gained 10.9 letters, compared to a mean 8.1 letter gain with ranibizumab 0.5mg dosed every month (p<0.01).  All other dose groups of VEGF Trap-Eye in the VIEW 1 study and all dose groups in the VIEW 2 study were not statistically different from ranibizumab in this secondary endpoint.

A generally favorable safety profile was observed for both VEGF Trap-Eye and ranibizumab. The incidence of ocular treatment emergent adverse events was balanced across all four treatment groups in both studies, with the most frequent events associated with the injection procedure, the underlying disease, and/or the aging process.  The most frequent ocular adverse events were conjunctival hemorrhage, macular degeneration, eye pain, retinal hemorrhage, and vitreous floaters.  The most frequent serious non-ocular adverse events were typical of those reported in this elderly population who receive intravitreal treatment for wet AMD; the most frequently reported events were falls, pneumonia, myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, breast cancer, and acute coronary syndrome.  There were no notable differences among the study arms.

In the second year of the studies, patients in VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 will continue to be treated with the same dose per injection as in the first year but administered only every three months, or more often for any worsening of AMD, based on protocol-defined criteria (called "quarterly capped PRN" dosing).

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