Healthcare Industry News: vitreomacular adhesion
News Release - August 2, 2013
Germany's IQWiG Confirms That ThromboGenics' JETREA(R) Demonstrates Major Added Value for the Treatment of Vitreomacular Traction and Macular HoleLEUVEN, Belgium, August 2, 2013 -- (Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network) --ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR) a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, announces today that the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has confirmed that JETREAŽ (ocriplasmin) demonstrates major / significant added value in VMT patients with mild / moderately severe symptoms compared with existing comparative treatment, when treating vitreomacular traction (VMT) including when associated with a macular hole of less than or equal to 400 microns.
There are no other pharmacological treatments in development for VMT. Currently patients either have to watch and wait before they are considered eligible for surgery. Surgery is typically performed only at a later stage of a patient's disease, once symptoms progress and their sight deteriorates significantly.
IQWiG is an independent federal organization that evaluates a drug's quality and efficiency, which makes a recommendation to the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA). G-BA is expected to issue final guidance on JETREAŽ in mid-October 2013.
IQWiG recognizes that the data submitted by ThromboGenics in the course of the value assessment provides an indication (Hinweis) for a major added value for VMT patients with mild symptoms and a significant added value for patients with moderately severe symptoms. Since the introduction of the Early Benefit Assessment in Germany in January 2011, this is the very first time that IQWiG confirms an indication for a major added value (Hinweis auf einen erheblichen Zusatznutzen) for an innovative new drug substance.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, said: "IQWiG's assessment confirming the significant additional benefits of JETREAŽfor VMT validates the importance of our novel drug in treating patients with this major sight-threatening disease. For the first time, patients can be treated at an earlier stage of their disease, rather than having to watch and wait until their symptoms worsen. We, and our partner Alcon, look forward to working with G-BA to ensure that the positive benefits shown by JETREAŽare reflected in its final guidance."
Earlier this year, JETREAŽ was classified as a breakthrough innovation, the highest rating in the so-called 'Fricke and Klaus' assessment1. This assessment evaluates how innovative the mechanism of action of a new medicine is compared to existing therapies available in Germany.
JETREAŽ contains the active substance ocriplasmin. It is administered through a single intravitreal injection to treat adults with vitreomacular traction (VMT).
VMT is a progressive, sight-threatening condition. It is caused by the vitreous humour having an abnormally strong attachment to the macula, the central part of the retina (the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye). The macula provides central vision that is needed for everyday tasks such as driving, reading and recognizing faces.
When the vitreous humor shrinks, the strong attachment results in a pulling force on the retina, which may lead to visual distortion, decreased visual acuity and central blindness. When the disease progresses the traction may eventually result in the formation of a hole in the macula (called a macular hole).
JETREAŽ breaks down the protein fibers which cause the abnormal traction between the vitreous and the macula that causes VMT. By dissolving these proteins, JETREAŽ releases the traction, and helps to complete the detachment of the vitreous from the macula.
JETREAŽ can also be used when VMT has progressed and caused a small hole in the macula (central part of the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye).
The current approach in the EU is 'observation', 'watchful waiting' or 'watch and wait' until a patient becomes a candidate for surgical treatment, usually at a late stage of the disease.2,3 A patient would then receive a surgical procedure and repair of the retina. However, for many patients this is not a suitable option, as irreversible damage to the retina may have already occurred.4,5
ThromboGenics is continuing to work closely with Alcon to ensure patients across Europe and rest of the world can access this innovative medicine and receive JETREAŽ as soon as it becomes available in the respective countries.
1. German pharmaceutical journal PZ online
2. Idiopathic macular hole. American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2008
3. Stalmans P. Management and intervention strategies for symptomatic vitreomacular adhesions. Retinal Physician 2011
4. Koerner F & Garweg J. Vitrectomy for macular pucker and vitreomacular traction syndrome. Doc Ophthalmol 1999;97:449-458
5. Dugel PU, Brown DM, Humayun MS et al. Symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion: diagnosis, pathologic implications, and management. Retina Today 2011;(Suppl):1-14
JETREAŽ (ocriplasmin) is a truncated form of human plasmin. In the US, JETREAŽ is indicated for the treatment of symptomatic VMA. In Europe, JETREAŽ is indicated for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of diameter ? 400 microns. JETREAŽ is a selective proteolytic enzyme that cleaves fibronectin, laminin and collagen, three major components of the vitreoretinal interface that play an important role in vitreomacular adhesion.
JETREAŽ has been evaluated in two multi-center, randomized, double-masked Phase III trials conducted in the U.S. and Europe involving 652 patients with vitreomacular adhesion. Both studies met the primary endpoint of resolution of VMA at day 28.
JETREA's Phase III program found that 26.5% of patients treated with ocriplasmin saw resolution of VMA, compared with 10.1% of patients receiving placebo (p
ThromboGenics is an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic and oncology medicines. The Company's lead product, JETREAŽ (ocriplasmin), has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of symptomatic VMA and was launched in January 2013.
ThromboGenics signed a strategic partnership with Alcon (Novartis) for the commercialization of JETREAŽ outside the United States. Under this agreement, ThromboGenics could receive up to a total of 375 million in up-front and milestone payments. It will receive significant royalties from Alcon's net sales of JETREAŽ. ThromboGenics and Alcon intend to share the costs equally of developing JETREAŽ for a number of new vitreoretinal indications.
In Europe, JETREAŽ is approved for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns. Alcon has launched JETREAŽ in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
ThromboGenics is also further exploring anti-PIGF (Placental Growth Factor), also referred to as TB-403, for the treatment of ophthalmic and oncology indications.
ThromboGenics is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has-offices in Iselin, NJ (US) and Dublin, Ireland. The Company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Brussels exchange under the symbol THR. More information is available at http://www.thrombogenics.com.
Important information about forward-looking statements
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