Second drug for dry AMD becomes available in the US

Posted: Tuesday 08 August 2023 at 00:00

Another new drug to treat late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been approved for use in the US.

Izervay (avacincaptad pegol), which has been successful in clinical trials at reducing the rate of progression of the disease in its late stages, is the second drug to be cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The drug, previously known as Zimura, works by blocking a particular protein (complement C5), which is believed to significantly contribute to the worsening of the condition. It has been suggested that Izervay can reduce the activity that leads to the breakdown of retinal cells, potentially slowing down the progression of late-stage dry AMD, often called geographic atrophy (GA).

The approval follows positive results from clinical trials by Astellas, known as GATHER1 and GATHER2, which involved over 700 participants with GA. The trials measured the progression of the condition using imaging techniques and found those receiving Izervay, versus those receiving a placebo, showed a considerable slowdown in the disease.

The trials also revealed that the treatment began showing its effects within six months, with up to a 35% reduction in GA progression observed in the first year of treatment.

The drug is the second this year to receive approval from the FDA for use in the US, with Apellis Pharmaceutcials’ drug pegcetacoplan, known as Syfovre, becoming the first ever drug to treat dry AMD in February.

Geraldine Hoad, research manager at the Macular Society, said: “Patients with late-stage dry AMD have waited a long time for any treatment, so it’s exciting to see this decision from the FDA so soon after approval of Syfovre earlier this year.

“We don’t yet know what this means for patients in the UK but we will be keeping a close eye on any developments and hope these new drug will become available in the coming months.”

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