New drug for wet AMD could be approved in 2020

Posted: Friday 20 December 2019

Novartis could launch its new drug for wet age-related macular degeneration in Europe early in 2020 after getting a green light from the European Medicines Agency. 

Once launched the new drug, Beovu (medical name brolucizumab), which has proven to be just as effective at treating wet AMD as Eylea, will go up against these existing licenced drugs to treat the condition.

Results from the trials showed that approximately 30% of patients treated with Beovu gained at least 15 letters at year one, which is similar to that experienced with Eylea. However, Beovu would be the first drug to be given once every 12 weeks.  

The drug has already been approved in the US and launched at the same cost per dose as Eylea. This week the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), which plays a vital role in the authorisation of medicines in the European Union (EU), has adopted a positive opinion for Beovu.

Talking about the CHMP’s opinion, Dr Mark Toms, Medical Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Novartis UK said: “The decision marks a significant step towards delivering a new treatment option for people living with wet AMD in the UK. Brolucizumab is the first anti-VEGF to maintain a majority of patients on a 12-weekly injection interval immediately after loading whilst maintaining its effectiveness, which will mean fewer hospital visits and encourage more independence for people living with wet AMD in the UK.”

The European Commission will now consider the CHMP opinion as it makes its final decision on the marketing authorisation for Beovu. The decision is expected within three months.

In 2020 NICE will be considering the new drug for approval for use in the NHS.