LEUVEN, Belgium, October 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Final guidance confirms metamorphopsia, an early symptom of VMT, as severe and distressing, requiring early treatment
- NICE final guidance recommends reimbursement of JETREA for treatment of a broad range of VMT patients, from early stage to late-stage: patients with epiretinal membranes (ERMs) are excluded
- NICE recommends reimbursement for patients suffering from VMT with full thickness macular hole (FTMH) < 400 microns
- NICE recommends reimbursement of JETREA for treatment of patients showing early symptoms of VMT such as metamorphopsia (blurred vision); NICE considers patient impact of metamorphopsia to be equal to the loss of two lines in visual acuity
ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR) a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, announces that the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) final guidance has recommended that JETREA® (ocriplasmin) should be reimbursed within the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales as an option for treating VMT patients. JETREA has been marketed by ThromboGenics partner, Alcon, mainly to private hospitals in the UK since April 2013.
The NICE final guidance again highlighted metamorphopsia as a 'severe and distressing' symptom, with its impact on the patient being comparable to a loss of two lines in visual acuity. In its final ruling NICE has recommended reimbursing JETREA when used to treat patients suffering from metamorphopsia, one of the early signs of VMT.
Currently patients with VMT are observed (termed watch and wait) before they are considered eligible for surgery. Surgery is only performed at a later stage of a patient's disease, once symptoms progress and their sight deteriorates significantly.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, said: "We are very pleased with NICE's final guidance recommending that the NHS in England and Wales should reimburse the use of JETREA® for a broad range of patients with VMT and macular hole. This outcome marks the start of a paradigm shift in treatment as it means that physicians will be able to use the first and only pharmacological option to proactively treat this progressive disease much earlier and as soon as patients start experiencing symptoms such as metamorphopsia.
"NICE's view that metamorphopsia is a 'severe and distressing' symptom and that early treatment with JETREA® should be reimbursed is in line with our own view that this novel drug delivers significant clinical and quality of life benefits to patients with VMT.
"There is growing evidence that if left untreated prolonged VMT may lead to progressive vision loss and importantly, an increased risk that subsequent intervention may be less successful. With JETREA®, an innovative new drug, we believe that patients will be able to benefit, for the first time, by having access to a reimbursed alternative to watchful waiting. We are confident that today's NICE recommendation will lead to a significant change in the way this important sight-threatening condition is treated in the UK."
"People affected by vitreomacular traction can suffer vision changes that have a significant impact on their lives, making it difficult to do everyday activities like reading, watching TV and driving," said Tim Jackson, Retinal Surgeon at King's College Hospital. "Until now, eye doctors have only had surgical options to treat this disease, once it progressed to a severe stage. This new treatment is a welcome advance, meaning some patients can now avoid surgery, and others who might not be suitable for surgery can now be treated."
JETREA® is the first and only potentially curative pharmacological treatment indicated for use in patients diagnosed with VMT, including when associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns and was approved in the European Union by the European Commission in March 2013. Alcon, a division of Novartis, acquired the rights to commercialize JETREA® outside the United States in March 2012. In April 2013, Alcon launched JETREA® in the UK, its first market in Europe, resulting in ThromboGenics receiving €90 million in milestone payments.
JETREA® contains the active substance ocriplasmin. It is administered through a single intravitreal injection to treat adults with vitreomacular traction (VMT).
VMT is a progressive, sight-threatening condition. It is caused by the vitreous humor having an abnormally strong attachment to the macula, the central part of the retina (the light sensitive membrane at the back of the eye). The macula provides central vision that is needed for everyday tasks such as driving, reading and recognizing faces.
When the vitreous humor shrinks, the strong attachment results in a pulling force on the retina, which may lead to visual distortion, decreased visual acuity and central blindness. When the disease progresses the traction may eventually result in the formation of a hole in the macula (called a macular hole).
JETREA® breaks down the protein fibers which cause the abnormal traction between the vitreous and the macula that causes VMT. By dissolving these proteins, JETREA® releases the traction, and helps to complete the detachment of the vitreous from the macula.
JETREA® can also be used when VMT has progressed and caused a small hole in the macula (central part of the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye).
The current approach in the EU is 'observation', 'watchful waiting' or 'watch and wait' until a patient becomes a candidate for surgical treatment, usually at a late stage of the disease., A patient would then receive a surgical procedure and repair of the retina. However, for many patients this is not a suitable option, as irreversible damage to the retina may have already occurred.,
ThromboGenics is continuing to work closely with Alcon to ensure patients across Europe and rest of the world can access this innovative medicine and receive JETREA® as soon as it becomes available in the respective countries.
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. Stalmans P. Management and intervention strategies for symptomatic vitreomacular adhesions. Retinal Physician 2011
. Koerner F & Garweg J. Vitrectomy for macular pucker and vitreomacular traction syndrome. Doc Ophthalmol 1999;97:449-458
. Dugel PU, Brown DM, Humayun MS et al. Symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion: diagnosis, pathologic implications, and management. Retina Today 2011;(Suppl):1-14
About JETREA® (ocriplasmin)
JETREA® (ocriplasmin) is a truncated form of human plasmin. In the US, JETREA® is indicated for the treatment of symptomatic VMA. In Europe, JETREA® is indicated for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of diameter ≤ 400 microns. JETREA® is a selective proteolytic enzyme that cleaves fibronectin, laminin and collagen, three major components of the vitreoretinal interface that play an important role in vitreomacular adhesion.
JETREA® has been evaluated in two multi-center, randomized, double-masked Phase III trials conducted in the U.S. and Europe involving 652 patients with vitreomacular adhesion. Both studies met the primary endpoint of resolution of VMA at day 28.
JETREA's Phase III program found that 26.5% of patients treated with ocriplasmin saw resolution of VMA, compared with 10.1% of patients receiving placebo (p<0.01). The Phase III program also showed that JETREA was generally well tolerated with most adverse events being transient and mild in severity.
ThromboGenics is an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic and oncology medicines. The Company's lead product, JETREA® (ocriplasmin), has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of symptomatic VMA and was launched in January 2013.
ThromboGenics signed a strategic partnership with Alcon (Novartis) for the commercialization of JETREA® outside the United States. Under this agreement, ThromboGenics could receive up to a total of €375 million in up-front and milestone payments. It will receive significant royalties from Alcon's net sales of JETREA®. ThromboGenics and Alcon intend to share the costs equally of developing JETREA® for a number of new vitreoretinal indications.
In Europe, JETREA® is approved for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns. Alcon has launched JETREA® in the UK, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
ThromboGenics is also further exploring anti-PIGF (Placental Growth Factor), also referred to as TB-403, for the treatment of ophthalmic and oncology indications.
ThromboGenics is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has-offices in Iselin, NJ (US) and Dublin, Ireland. The Company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Brussels exchange under the symbol THR. More information is available at http://www.thrombogenics.com.
Important information about forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this press release may be considered "forward-looking". Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, and, accordingly, entail and are influenced by various risks and uncertainties. The Company therefore cannot provide any assurance that such forward-looking statements will materialize and does not assume an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties affecting the business and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement is contained in the Company's Annual Report.
This press release does not constitute an offer or invitation for the sale or purchase of securities or assets of ThromboGenics in any jurisdiction. No securities of ThromboGenics may be offered or sold within the United States without registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or in compliance with an exemption therefrom, and in accordance with any applicable U.S. state securities laws.
For further information please contact:
Wouter Piepers, Global Head of Corporate Communications
+32-16-75-13-10 / +32-478-33-56-32
Dr. Patrik De Haes, CEO
Chris Buyse, CFO
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
David Dible/ Sita Shah
The Trout Group (US investor relations)
Todd James/ Simon Harnest
SOURCE ThromboGenics NV