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23:15, 29 October 2018

Drugmakers tout new medicines as eye disease battle intensifies


Drugmakers tout new medicines as eye illness battle intensifies

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland&rsquos Roche and Novartis and other drugmakers are touting new treatment options for a blindness-causing disease that hits millions of older folks, as patent expiries are set to open up one particular of medicine&rsquos most lucrative markets.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss pharmaceutical organization Roche is observed outdoors their headquarters in Basel January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

Roche&rsquos experimental therapy faricimab showed extended-lasting effectiveness against age-connected macular degeneration (AMD), the Basel-primarily based drugmaker said on Monday, potentially lowering the frequency of uncomfortable, direct-in-the-eye shots.

Molecular Partners, collectively with partner Allergan, and Novartis, also released data on new AMD medicines at an industry conference in Chicago.

For years, Lucentis, from Roche and Novartis, and Bayer and Regeneron&rsquos Eylea, have dominated AMD therapy, with combined 2017 sales topping $9 billion.

With patent expiries beginning in 2020, even so, the scramble is on to preserve – or capture – a chunk of a single of medicine&rsquos hardest-fought locations, analysts stated.

The AMD landscape is obtaining far more crowded and less differentiated, with new medicines supplying only marginal therapeutic improvements whilst remaining pricey, mentioned Baader Helvea analyst Bruno Bulic.

The question, Bulic said, is: &ldquoHow extended the money cow can nevertheless be milked prior to the finish?&rdquo

Prospective pricing reforms below U.S. President Donald Trump could also disrupt the marketplace.

The U.S. government-administered Medicare overall health strategy for seniors spent $three.25 billion in 2016 on Eylea and Lucentis alone. The Trump administration is seeking approaches to reduced the expense of drugs on Medicare.

That could eventually help Samsung Bioepis of South Korea and Mylan, which are building biosimilars of Lucentis and Eylea that are anticipated to be less costly.[reut.rs/2qhPveW]

The new drugs will also nonetheless face competition from Roche&rsquos Avastin, a cancer medicine employed for years to treat AMD in many markets despite not getting officially authorized to do so. Avastin fees just a fraction of Lucentis and Eylea.

Last month, Novartis, Bayer and Roche lost a bid to cease British doctors from recommending Avastin, potentially clearing the way for Britain&rsquos National Wellness Service to begin broader use of the less expensive drug.

Since new AMD drugs in studies have confirmed to be as successful, but not necessarily greater, in assisting vision as Eylea and Lucentis, their backers are searching for to underscore other advantages, like the need to have for much less frequent shots.

Compared with monthly Lucentis injections, &ldquodata show the possible of faricimab to allow fewer injections whilst attaining and sustaining the identical visual gains,&rdquo stated Sandra Horning, Roche&rsquos chief healthcare officer.

Novartis plans to submit its new drug, RTH258, to U.S. and European regulators in December, with approval due subsequent year. It is promoting RTH258 information displaying the drug is better than Eylea at controlling fluid in the retina, a hallmark of AMD.

($1 = .7795 pounds)

Reporting by John Miller Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter

Published at Mon, 29 Oct 2018 19:38:16 +0000


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