News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Novartis’ new drug – an attractive option in AMD treatment

Health Industry Hub | February 5, 2020 |
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Novartis announced that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) registered Beovu (brolucizumab) solution for injection for the treatment of wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (nAMD).

Beovu is the first approved anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) in Australia to offer the ability to maintain wet AMD patients on a three-month dosing interval.

In two head-to-head clinical trials, Phase III HAWK and HARRIER, patients on Beovu (brolucizumab) achieved vision gains that were non-inferior to
Bayer’s Eylea (aflibercept) at year one with superior anatomic outcomes in retinal fluid, retinal thickness and reduced disease activity.

Considering Eylea’s success to date, Novartis’ Beovu is bound to be an attractive drug for ophthalmologists to reduce injection frequency and enhance patient adherence once PBS reimbursement is secured.

Frequent administration has been a long-standing issue associated with the otherwise effective anti-VEGF injections for patients with wet AMD. Novartis’ anti-VEGF, Lucentis (ranibizumab) is injected into the eye every four weeks according to the label, while Bayer’s Eylea (aflibercept) is approved for intravitreal (IVT) injection every four or every eight weeks.

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“We look forward to accessing this drug to treat our patients with wet age-related macular degeneration which is a leading cause of blindness in Australia.” said Associate Clinical Professor of Sydney University and Vitreoretinal Ophthalmologist and Surgeon, Dr. Andrew Chang.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO, Dee Hopkins said: “We hope that real world outcomes will result in reduced treatment burden on patients and improve persistence rates for sight saving treatment.”

“Beovu is a testament to our commitment here at Novartis to reimagine medicine for patients living with wet age-related macular degeneration” said Richard Tew, General Manager of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Australia and New Zealand. “We are delighted that Beovu is now registered in Australia.”

Wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) is a chronic, degenerative eye disease affecting approximately 133,000 Australians.

In November 2019 the PBAC did not recommend Beovu for the treatment of patients with wet AMD, based on Novartis’ first submission.

Novartis is committed to ensuring patient access to Beovu and will work closely with all stakeholders to help improve the lives of Australians living with eye diseases.

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