Faricimab and PDS Ranibizumab May Progress Anti-VEGF Treatment Duration

May 2, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

An expert discusses his interest in a pair of macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema treatments that may provide less burden and consistent efficacy in patients.

Among the chief clinical topics at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2021 Virtual Sessions this year—as is often the case at each iteration of the annual meeting—is the progression of anti-VEGF therapy for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME).

And with a decade-plus of assessment having helped optimize a very effective and safe drug class for a growing patient population, investigators are interested in refining their agents; what is the most ideal anti-VEGF agent and regimen?

In an interview with HCPLive during ARVO 2021, Joshua Mali, MD, an ophthalmologist with The Eye Associates, discussed a pair of the meeting’s most interesting phase 3 data presentations: Genentech’s faricimab, as well as their port delivery system (PDS) for ranibizumab, for patients with wet AMD.

As Mali noted, there’s hope that the investigative anti-VEGF faricimab may be able to provide vision retention in patients with wet AMD with just 1 injection every 16 weeks.

Meanwhile, the PDS pathway, in which a surgically-implanted device in patients’ eyes allows ophthalmologists to potentially “refill” anti-VEGF therapy every 6 months in patients with AMD or DME, has become representative of “tremendous studies in drug durability and long-acting drug delivery systems.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we had approvals for both these medications by the year’s end,” Mali said.

Mali additionally discussed the significant presence of AMD and DME among his own patient population at a private practice, and how the average patient’s interests in care often align with his own: longer, more durable treatment that doesn’t compromise benefit.

“We want to have physician satisfaction in effective agents, safe agents—that’s very important for the physicians, but also for the patients,” he explained. “They want less frequent injections, less treatment burdens, but still great outcomes.”