Implant could mean fewer injections for patients with wet AMD

Nurse greeting patient in clinic

Scientists are studying the effectiveness of a small, refillable eye implant, which means patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can go several months without needing to visit their ophthalmologist for treatment.

Genentech (Roche), has announced positive results from the Phase II LADDER study, which is evaluating the efficacy and safety of the Port Delivery System (PDS).

The investigational system is slightly longer than a grain of rice and is surgically implanted in the eye. It is uniquely designed to continuously deliver a specialised formulation of Lucentis (the anti-VEGF medicine used to treat wet AMD) over time.

The majority of patients enrolled in the trial went six months or longer between implant of the device and the first required refill of Lucentis.

Sandra Horning, executive vice president, global development and chief medical officer at Genentech, said: “LADDER is the first successful Phase II study of a long-acting delivery device for the treatment of wet AMD. We are highly encouraged by these results and the potential of the PDS, our first implantable, drug delivery programme.

“With the PDS, we have an opportunity to make a positive impact by helping to potentially eliminate the burden of frequent treatments for people with wet AMD.”

The PDS Phase III clinical development programme is expected to begin later this year.

Meanwhile other companies are looking at similar technology to treat wet AMD, including Regeneron which has recently begun its own sustained-release initiative for its anti-VEGF drug Eylea (aflibercept).