RVO treatment pipeline 'underwhelming'

May 30, 2012
Ophthalmology Times Staff Reports

The therapeutics pipeline for retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is weak and likely to remain so for several years, according to a report by GlobalData.

London-The therapeutics pipeline for retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is weak and likely to remain so for several years, according to a report by GlobalData.

The report states that none of the 11 drugs currently in late-stage development for RVO boasts a novel mechanism of action. In addition, the only first-in-class molecule under development is in phase II studies and will not be available for patient use “for some time to come.”

Meanwhile, the main risk factors associated with RVO-hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia-are increasing in incidence in the United States and Europe because of increasingly commonplace disorders such as obesity.

The GlobalData report notes that between 2006 and 2011, the RVO therapeutics market grew at a very high compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.5%, primarily because of the approval of ranibizumab (Lucentis, Genentech) and an intravitreal implant delivering dexamethasone (Ozurdex, Allergan). These are the only two currently approved products for the treatment of macular edema secondary to RVO.

The corticosteroid dexamethasone implant was approved in the United States in 2009 and in Europe in 2010, whereas the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agent ranibizumab was approved in 2010 in the United States and in 2011 in Europe.

According to GlobalData: “Both approved drugs have a high cost of therapy, and as a result there is significant off-label usage of [bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech)] in the RVO therapeutics market, as this drug offers similar safety and efficacy profiles. This trend looks likely to continue into the future, unless the RVO market can formulate a cost-effective [therapy] with unique methods of function.”

Increasing prevalence, disease awareness, and drug approvals, such as aflibercept (Eylea, Regeneron), will drive the future RVO market, according to the report. Aflibercept is expected to be launched as an RVO therapy in 2014 in the United States, in 2015 in Europe, and in 2016 in Japan. Additionally, ranibizumab is expected to be launched in Japan in 2014.

Despite these launches, market growth will be significantly slower than it has been recently, as the pharmaceutical industry proves “underwhelming” in terms of upcoming medical offerings, according to GlobalData.

The business intelligence company estimates that the global RVO therapeutics market was worth $759.3 million in 2011. According to its market forecasts, this rate is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.9% to reach $1.739 billion by 2019.

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