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Bayer and Regeneron to develop second wet AMD therapy

Will collaborate on drug to be used in combination with Eylea
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Bayer and Regeneron have expanded their eyecare collaboration to include the development of a second treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The partners already market Eylea (aflibercept) for use in a number of eye disorders, including wet AMD, and now want to develop a complementary therapy that can be used in combination with their existing drug.

The new treatment in development by Regeneron as an antibody designed to inhibit the function of the platelet derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-β) – a protein that regulates cell growth in blood vessels.

This is a different method of action to Eylea, which works by blocking the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The companies are banking on the two drugs complementing each other in a combination treatment, both working in different ways to address wet AMD – an eye disease that leads to reduced vision and is caused by abnormal blood vessels forming underneath the macula and damaging its cells.

As such, Bayer will make an upfront payment of $22.5m to Regeneron for exclusive commercialisation rights to a combination product outside the US. Regeneron is also eligible to receive up to $40m in milestone payments.

Within the US, Regeneron will hold exclusive commercialisation rights.

This mirrors the existing deal between the two companies involving Eylea, with Regeneron holding US rights and Bayer holding non-US rights.

Under this agreement, Regeneron was able to posted Eylea revenues of $363m for the third quarter of 2013, while Bayer posted Eylea revenues of $85m in the same period. This is due in part to Eylea being available in the US since 2011, while it took a further year for the drug to win approval in the EU. It has also struggled to be recommended by some health technology assessment (HTA) bodies, such as IQWIG in Germany.

Bayer said the first human clinical studies for the combination treatment are expected to begin in early 2014.

Article by
Thomas Meek

15th January 2014

From: Research

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