VEGF Trap-Eye was not approved by the FDA for the treatment of wet macular degeneration. The parent company, Regeneron, was hopeful to gain FDA approval last week, but the FDA delayed its decision until November of this year.
VEGF Trap-Eye, or aflibercept, is another anti-VEGF drug formulated to treat wet macular degeneration.
Like its competitors, aflibercept is designed to neutralize the effects of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor a key component in the pathway of wet macular degeneration. It, too, will be administered as an injection into the eye as are Lucentis and Avastin.
If you recall, Lucentis is FDA approved for wet macular degeneration. Avastin is not FDA approved, but is commonly used by retinal specialists, hence, it has become the standard of care.
Unlike its competitors, aflibercept may be injected less frequently than its competitor, Lucentis. Instead of monthly injections, VEGF Trap-Eye may be injected every 2 months!
What Does this Mean? There is a potential new drug near FDA approval for the treatment of wet macular degeneration.
Assuming that Eylea (the proposed trade name) is just as effective as Lucentis, there are two particular advantages to the new drug: cost and frequency of administration.
Eylea will be the third drug to be used for wet ARMD, but only the second that is FDA approved (Lucentis is FDA approved, but Avastin is used “off label”). It is conceivable that that Eylea will be priced between the two drugs…
Fewer injections means fewer office visits, fewer complications and this means….cost savings (thus an argument to increase the price compared to Lucentis!).
Personally, I think there is room for a drug that doesn’t have to be given monthly. There are substantial savings to realize; costs in terms of office visits, costs of injections and the intangible costs…the costs involved to have a family member or friend accompany the patient…