FDA Approval to be filed for Ranibizumab as Treatment of Wet ARMD
Sep 9, 2005 - 5:24:38 PM

Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) announced today plans to file a complete Biologics License Application (BLA) for the investigational drug Lucentis™ (ranibizumab) in December 2005. In addition, the company announced that it is in discussion with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding plans to initiate a Phase IIIb clinical study of Lucentis for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study is anticipated to begin before the end of 2005. One-year Phase III data from the MARINA study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists in July showed Lucentis improved vision in patients with wet AMD.

"We recognize the significant unmet medical needs of those with wet AMD and hope to make Lucentis available to patients by seeking FDA approval as quickly as possible," said Hal Barron, M.D., Genentech senior vice president, development and chief medical officer. "We are encouraged by the magnitude of the benefit observed in the one-year Lucentis MARINA data and are excited about this new Phase IIIb trial, which will help provide more information about the safety profile of Lucentis and the treatment regimen for this chronic disease."

The Phase IIIb SAILOR (Safety Assessment of Intravitreal Lucentis for AMD) study is being designed to evaluate the safety of two different doses (0.3 mg and 0.5 mg) of Lucentis in a broad wet AMD population. Patients will receive Lucentis once a month for three months with criteria-based re-treatment options. Genentech anticipates that patients with wet AMD who have not received prior treatment for their disease or who continue to have active disease despite treatment with FDA-approved therapies may be eligible to enroll in SAILOR. The study will be conducted at more than 100 sites in the United States and enroll approximately 5,000 patients.

Genentech has also recently been notified that the FDA did not grant the company's request for fast-track designation, which allows for a rolling BLA submission. The FDA's decision will not affect the timing for BLA submission in December or the potential to obtain priority review for Lucentis.

Phase III MARINA Results
In July, Genentech announced positive preliminary Phase III data on Lucentis from a study of 716 patients with wet AMD. In addition to meeting the study’s primary efficacy endpoint of maintaining vision in patients with wet AMD, 25 percent (59/238) of patients treated with 0.3 mg of Lucentis and 34 percent (81/240) treated with 0.5 mg of Lucentis improved vision by a gain of 15 letters or more compared to approximately 5 percent (11/238) of patients in the control group as measured by the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy (ETDRS) eye chart. Nearly 40 percent (188/478) of Lucentis-treated patients achieved a visual acuity score of 20/40 or better at 12 months compared to 11 percent (26/238) in the control group. At 12 months, patients treated with Lucentis gained an average of seven letters in visual acuity compared to study entry, while those in the control group lost an average of 10.5 letters.

An analysis of the one-year data showed that adverse events were similar to those seen in earlier trials of Lucentis. Common side effects occurring more frequently in the Lucentis arms than in the control group were mild to moderate and included conjunctival hemorrhage, eye pain and vitreous floaters. Serious ocular adverse events occurring more frequently in Lucentis-treated patients were uncommon (<1 percent

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