Vabysmo from Genentech.
Vabysmo from Genentech. Click image to enlarge.

The newest entrant into the anti-VEGF field, faricimab from Genentech, matches the current standard-bearers in visual acuity gains but requires fewer treatments for many patients, the company stated in a press release announcing the drug’s recent FDA approval. It will be marketed under the brand name Vabysmo.

In addition to blocking vascular endothelial growth factor, the drug also neutralizes angiopoietin-2, a substance that can contribute to vessel leakage, inflammation and angiogenesis when levels are elevated. Genentech and its clinical trial investigators point to this dual action as the reason for Vabysmo’s greater durability of effect. After a loading phase of injections once per month for four months, retina specialists can begin to extend the time between treatments while monitoring to ensure visual acuity and anatomical stability. Over 70% of patients being treated for wet AMD or DME were able to go three months or longer between injections in the first year, Genentech says. Some DME patients may need six monthly loading doses, according to the company.

Phase III trials showed noninferiority to Regeneron’s aflibercept in vision outcomes, central subfield thickness and choroidal neovascularization at one year, Genentech says.