Bayer (ETR:BAYN) said today that its eye drug, Eyelea, was approved by the Chinese authorities to treat patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.
The pharmaceutical giant’s aflibercept injection is already cleared in China to treat visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema.
Age-related macular degeneration accounts for 8.7% of all blindness, according to Bayer – that’s three million people worldwide. Out of all AMD patients, wet-AMD accounts for more than 80% of legal blindness, the company said.
“Neovascular age-related macular degeneration is a rapidly progressive eye disease which can lead to permanent vision loss in just a few months if left untreated,” Joerg Moeller, head of R&D at Bayer, said in prepared remarks. “We are delighted that with this approval, patients in China with this devastating disease will soon have access to a therapy that has been demonstrated in clinical trials and real world clinical settings to improve vision and long-term outcomes.”
In a trial conducted in China, wet-AMD patients treated with Eylea experienced statistically significant vision improvement compared to patients treated with photodynamic therapy.
Eylea, which is sold by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:REGN) in the U.S., is a blockbuster drug approved to treat patients with conditions like macular edema following retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular edema. Approximately 20 million vials of Eylea have been sold since the product launched, according to Bayer.
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