EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection Approved as the First Pharmacologic Treatment for Preterm Infants with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) by the FDA
ROP is a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide
EYLEA now approved to treat five retinal conditions caused by ocular angiogenesis
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Feb. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection to treat preterm infants with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Following this first pediatric approval, EYLEA is now indicated to treat five retinal conditions caused by ocular angiogenesis.
“Retinopathy of prematurity is a leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide. Until now, the only FDA-approved treatment in common use was laser photocoagulation, a complex and lengthy procedure that permanently ablates retina tissue and is stressful not only for infant patients but also the family navigating a delicate time after a preterm birth,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, and a principal inventor of EYLEA. “For the first time, physicians will now have an FDA approved medication in EYLEA to treat this heartbreaking disease in these smallest of patients. We thank the investigators and the many families who participated in the clinical trials.”
Each year in the U.S., between 1,100 to 1,500 infants develop ROP that is severe enough to require medical treatment. This rare eye disease often impacts infants who are born before 31 weeks of pregnancy have been completed or who weigh less than 1,500 grams (3.3 lbs) pounds at birth. As retinal blood vessels are often only fully developed once an infant is full-term (~9 months of pregnancy), these infants are at risk of developing retinal blood vessels that are abnormal (retinal neovascularization) potentially leading to retinal detachment and irreversible vision loss. Mild cases of ROP may improve without treatment, but some cases require treatment to keep ROP from causing significant visual impairment and even blindness.
“With no existing FDA approved guidance for the treatment of retinopathy of prematurity with anti-VEGF therapies, there was a significant need for research to understand how best to treat the disease in a manner that puts patient safety first and preserves vision for a lifetime,” said Jeff Todd, Chief Executive Officer, Prevent Blindness. “Regeneron’s trials investigating EYLEA in retinopathy of prematurity have advanced our understanding of how to treat this disease and provided a needed evidence-based treatment option to potentially help preterm infants preserve their vision.”
About the Phase 3 Program in ROP
The FDA approval is supported by data from two randomized global Phase 3 trials – FIREFLEYE (N=113) and BUTTERFLEYE (N=120) – investigating EYLEA 0.4 mg versus laser photocoagulation (laser) in infants with ROP. In both trials, approximately 80% of EYLEA-treated infants achieved an absence of both active ROP and unfavorable structural outcomes at 52 weeks of age, which is better than would have been expected without treatment.
No new EYLEA safety signals were observed in either trial. Comparing EYLEA to laser, ocular adverse events (AEs) among patients occurred in 39% versus 37% in FIREFLEYE and 18% versus 26% in BUTTERFLEYE, with serious ocular AEs occurring in 8% for both groups in FIREFLEYE and 6.5% versus 11% in BUTTERFLEYE. AEs in both trials were consistent with infant prematurity or to the injection procedure, and with the AEs in similar ROP trials. The results of FIREFLEYE were published in Journal of the American Medical Association, and data from BUTTERFLEYE were presented at ROP Update 2022 meeting in the U.S.
Both trials were conducted pursuant to FDA Pediatric Written Request, and a Pediatric Exclusivity Determination was granted by FDA on October 12, 2022. This grant extends the period of U.S. market exclusivity for EYLEA by an additional six months through May 17, 2024.
EYLEA is being jointly developed by Regeneron and Bayer. The lead sponsors of the trials were Regeneron for BUTTERFLEYE and Bayer for FIREFLEYE. Bayer and Regeneron are collaborating on the global development of EYLEA. Regeneron maintains exclusive rights of EYLEA in the United States. Bayer has licensed the exclusive marketing rights outside the United States, where the companies share equally the profits from sales of EYLEA.
EYLEA is a VEGF inhibitor formulated as an injection for the eye. It is designed to block the growth of new blood vessels and decrease the ability of fluid to pass through blood vessels (vascular permeability) in the eye by blocking VEGF-A and placental growth factor (PLGF), two growth factors involved in ocular angiogenesis. The EYLEA safety and efficacy profile is supported by a robust body of research that includes eight pivotal Phase 3 trials, more than 11 years of real-world experience and greater than 57 million EYLEA injections globally.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION AND INDICATIONS FOR EYLEA
EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept.
Injections into the eye with EYLEA can result in an infection in the eye and retinal detachment (separation of retina from back of the eye) can occur. Inflammation in the eye has been reported with the use of EYLEA.
In some patients, injections with EYLEA may cause a temporary increase in eye pressure within 1 hour of the injection. Sustained increases in eye pressure have been reported with repeated injections, and your doctor may monitor this after each injection.
In infants with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), treatment with EYLEA will need extended periods of ROP monitoring.
There is a potential but rare risk of serious and sometimes fatal side effects, related to blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke in patients receiving EYLEA.
The most common side effects reported in adult patients receiving EYLEA were increased redness in the eye, eye pain, cataract, vitreous (gel-like substance) detachment, vitreous floaters, moving spots in the field of vision, and increased pressure in the eye.
The most common side effects reported in pre-term infants with ROP receiving EYLEA were separation of the retina from the back of the eye, increased redness in the eye, and increased pressure in the eye. Side effects that occurred in adults are considered applicable to pre-term infants with ROP, though not all were seen in clinical studies.
You may experience temporary visual changes after an EYLEA injection and associated eye exams; do not drive or use machinery until your vision recovers sufficiently.
Contact your doctor right away if you think you or your baby might be experiencing any side effects, including eye pain or redness, light sensitivity, or blurring of vision, after an injection.
For additional safety information, please talk to your doctor and see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection 2 mg (0.05 mL) is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of patients with Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Macular Edema following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).
Please see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents, develops and commercializes life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for 35 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to nine FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, almost all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, hematologic conditions, infectious diseases and rare diseases.
Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite® technologies, such as VelocImmune®, which uses unique genetically humanized mice to produce optimized fully human antibodies and bispecific antibodies, and through ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center®, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world.
For more information, please visit www.Regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter.
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