Novartis Receives Positive Opinion on New Diabetic Macular Edema Drug

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Novartis has announced that it has received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of patients with visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema (DME).

The submission was supported by data from two Novartis-funded clinical trials, RESTORE and RESOLVE, which showed that Lucentis was superior in providing rapid and sustained visual acuity gain versus sham (dummy therapy) or laser therapy, the current standard of care. The RESTORE study showed patients treated with Lucentis alone or with Lucentis plus laser therapy achieved an average 5.9 letters and 5.5 letters gain in visual acuity at 12 months, respectively, compared to laser-treated patients as measured on a standard ETDRS eye chart.

Lucentis, designed specifically for use in the eye, offers an entirely new pharmacological approach to treatment compared to the current standard of care for DME that involves the use of laser burns to stop the capillary leakage and to reduce swelling. Lucentis is an antibody fragment that is injected into the eye and acts by neutralizing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that is known to increase vascular permeability, resulting in capillary leakage and macular edema in patients with diabetes.

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