ISTA Pharmaceuticals updates its position within ophthalmology

March 19, 2006

Outlining its strategy within the ophthalmic market, ISTA Pharmaceuticals updated the ophthalmic media Sunday on the company's products and what it expects to accomplish in 2006 during a breakfast session that the company referred to as the "Vision Summit."

Outlining its strategy within the ophthalmic market, ISTA Pharmaceuticals updated the ophthalmic media Sunday on the company's products and what it expects to accomplish in 2006 during a breakfast session that the company referred to as the "Vision Summit."

Vicente Anido Jr., PhD, president and chief executive officer of ISTA, opened the summit with an overview and history of the company. Dr. Anido explained how the company has grown from its simple beginnings as Advanced Corneal Systems, which started with the developmental stages of hyaluronidase (Vitrase), and evolved into ISTA Pharmaceuticals with three products and several more in the pipeline.

Dr. Anido also presented a 4-year forecast of the ophthalmic market (2004-2008) and outlined which therapeutic areas offer the most potential for ISTA. Over the 4-year span, ophthalmology is expected to grow 11%. In that time frame, Dr. Anido expects new therapies to emerge, particularly in the back of the eye. The biggest market, he added, is in the area of dry eye.

"ISTA is trying to find products in each of the ophthalmic categories," said Dr. Anido. "We're looking for products in particular niches and growing them."

Dr. Anido explained how ISTA is building its research and development portfolio. The company is looking to stock its pipeline three ways: 1) to develop in-licensing, late-stage products; 2) internally develop and improve formulations; and 3) through the acquisition of marketed products.

Barry A. Schechter, MD, of Boyton Beach, FL, continued the presentation with ISTA's vision for bromfenac ophthalmic solution (Xibrom), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. Dr. Schechter outlined the history of bromfenac, and explained the drug's features of penetration, potency, dosing, and comfort.

He also discussed the safety of bromfenac in the clinical context, and how the drug has shown has limited adverse effects.

"Xibrom is allowing physicians to change the postoperative paradigm in cataract surgery," he added.

Ehsan Sadri, MD, of the University of California, Irvine, outlined the role of timolol maleate ophthalmic solution (Istalol) within the glaucoma specialists' armament. Dr. Sadri said that beta-blockers have been forgotten in the marketplace, especially with the rise of prostaglandins. However, he added beta-blockers are still a cornerstone for treatment of high IOP.

What is needed, added Dr. Sadri, is a better beta-blocker. He said that timolol maleate is that better beta-blocker. He cited how the benefits of Istalol stand apart from other beta-blockers, including better penetration, lower systemic absorption, better patient compliance, and enhanced patient acceptability. Dr. Sadri also pointed out how timolol maleate fits into its current therapy as a first additive to prostaglandins.