ZURICH Dec 12 Swiss drugmaker Novartis's
bid to bolster its eye drug portfolio suffered a
setback on Monday when it announced combining Lucentis with
Fovista in patients with neovascular age-related macular
degeneration (nAMD) did not produce better outcomes than
treatment with Lucentis alone.
Two phase III studies that combined Ophthotech's Fovista
with Lucentis "did not meet the primary endpoint of
superiority", Novartis said in a statement.
Two years ago, Novartis signed a potential $1 billion
licensing deal with Ophthotech to market Fovista outside the
United States. It had hoped a successful combination with
Lucentis could help it counter sales erosion of Lucentis, which
has been hurt by competition from other drugs.
Novartis said it still hoped that underlying data it will
continue to analyse would provide further understanding and
guidance on helping nAMD patients.
"The proven efficacy of Lucentis monotherapy was not
improved by the addition of" Fovista, said Vasant Narasimhan,
Novartis's chief drug development officer. "Together with
Ophthotech we continue to analyse the data."
(Editing by Jason Neely)