Genentech Inc.’s Avastin is as effective as the South San Francisco biotech giant’s Lucentis in treating wet age-related macular degeneration, according to results of a study published in the journal Eye.
The study could help Avastin, the world’s leading cancer fighter that already is used off-label by doctors to treat the eye disease, win formal Food and Drug Administration approval for wet age-related macular degeneration, the Los Angeles Times reported.
That could have implications for Genentech and wet AMD patients. Avastin costs about $50 per injection while Lucentis, which is chemically similar, costs about $2,000.
Genentech, owned by Swiss drug company Roche Group, has tried over the past few years to limit Avastin’s off-label use.
The study included 22 people, and a Genentech spokesman noted that Lucentis has been studied in 10 trials of more than 5,500 people total. What’s more, Genentech said, the results are not statistically significant.
The study led by Boston University School of Medicine’s Dr. Manju Subramanian — the first head-to-head look at Avastin and Lucentis — follows a June report by British researchers that said Avastin is better than the standard treatment for wet AMD in the United Kingdom, the Times reported. That study did not compare Avastin and Lucentis, since Lucentis was not available in the U.K. when the study began.
Lucentis won U.S. approval in June 2006 to treat wet AMD.
A human monoclonal antibody, Avastin is approved in the United States to treat types of colon, lung, breast, kidney and brain cancers. The Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to withdraw conditional approval of the drug for women with previously untreated advanced HER2-negative breast cancer or expand its use with other chemotherapy agents.
Avastin had sales of nearly $6 billion last year.
Courtesy of the Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians working together to help you see better. Serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years. For more information visit youreyesite.com or call (301) 670-1212
Connect with us on Twitter @EyeInfo and subscribe (free subscription) to this blog