South San Francisco, CA - Genentech Inc. announced on Friday, June 30, 2006 that the FDA has approved its ranibizumab 0.5 mg injection (Lucentis, Genentech Inc.) for the treatment of neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The FDA approved Lucentis after a 6-month priority review, the company said. Genentech will begin shipping product immediately. Ninety-five percent of patients treated with Lucentis maintained their vision in phase III clinical trials, according to the company. Vision improved by at least three lines (or 15 letters) on the study eye chart in up to 40% of these patients at 1 year. Lucentis was developed for intraocular use to treat the underlying cause of wet AMD by targeting the molecular pathway that controls angiogenesis. Lucentis is designed to bind and inhibit VEGF-A, a protein that is believed to play a critical role in angiogenesis.