ThromboGenics’ JETREA® Granted EU Approval for Vitreomacular Traction (VMT), Including When Associated With Macular Hole of Diameter Less Than or Equal to 400 Microns
LEUVEN, Belgium, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
EU approval of JETREA(R)triggers a EUR45 million milestone payment from
ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR), an integrated biopharmaceutical company
focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, today announces
that the European Commission has approved JETREA(R) (ocriplasmin) in the European Union.
JETREA(R) is approved for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when
associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns. The EU
approval triggers a EUR45 million milestone payment to ThromboGenics from its partner
Alcon. The first sale of JETREA(R) in the EU by Alcon will trigger a further EUR45 million
milestone payment to ThromboGenics.
Alcon, a division of Novartis, acquired the rights to commercialize JETREA(R) outside
the United States in March 2012. ThromboGenics retains the right to commercialize the drug
in the US. ThromboGenics launched JETREA(R) in the US in mid-January 2013 where it is
approved for the treatment of patients with symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA).
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, says: “The European approval of JETREA(R)
just weeks after the US launch is another major milestone for the Company as we maintain,
with our partner Alcon, the momentum of the global roll out of this novel pharmacological
treatment for symptomatic VMA. Today’s approval has triggered a EUR45 million milestone
payment to ThromboGenics. We also anticipate a further EUR45 million as a result of
Alcon’s first sale of the product in the EU which is expected to take place soon. Patients
across Europe will now have access to our innovative drug for an important
sight-threatening condition. VMT is a considerable unmet medical need and places a huge
burden on patients across Europe who until now have had no treatment option other than
watchful waiting or surgery.”
JETREA(R) contains the active substance ocriplasmin. It is administered through a
one-time, single intravitreal injection to treat adults with vitreomacular traction (VMT).
VMT, which in the US is referred to as symptomatic VMA, is an age-related progressive,
sight-threatening condition. It is caused by the vitreous humour having an abnormally
strong attachment to 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 recognising faces.
When the vitreous humour 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(R) breaks down the protein fibers which cause the abnormal traction between
vitreous and macula that causes VMT. By dissolving these proteins, JETREA(R) releases the
traction, and helps to complete the detachment of the vitreous from the macula.
JETREA(R) 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).
It is estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 patients in Europe alone suffer from this
Currently the only available treatment in the EU is ‘observation’ or ‘watchful
waiting’ until a patient becomes a surgical candidate, 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 with Alcon, across Europe, to ensure the necessary
market access and reimbursement infrastructure in place so that patients can receive
JETREA(R) as soon as it is available.
“Vitreomacular traction and macular hole formation are disabling eye diseases that
influence visual function, and affect activities of patients in their daily life,” said
Prof. Dr. Peter Stalmans, Department of Ophthalmology, UniversityHospitals, Leuven,
Belgium. “When the disease worsens, vitrectomy surgery is the only available treatment
option. Release of the vitreous traction by pharmacologic vitreolysis can omit the need
“The EU approval of JETREA(R) is a very positive development for patients with VMT and
the wider European retina community. This novel pharmacological approach will enable us to
improve the treatment of VMT by allowing patients to be treated earlier thereby avoiding
the deterioration in their condition that takes place during watchful waiting as well as
the risks associated with the surgery. I am looking at quickly integrating the use of
JETREA(R) into my clinical practice as soon as it becomes available.”
The EU MAA submission was based on data from two pivotal phase III clinical trials
that evaluated the safety and efficacy of a single administration of JETREA(R). Both
studies met their primary endpoint and demonstrated that JETREA(R) successfully resolved
VMT and macular holes compared to placebo.
All adverse reactions were ocular. The most commonly reported were vitreous floaters,
eye pain and photopsia, as well as conjunctival haemorrhage resulting from the injection
procedure. Most of the adverse reactions occurred within the first week after the
injection. The majority of these reactions were non-serious, mild in intensity and
resolved within 2 to 3 weeks.
. ThromboGenics and Alcon internal estimates
. Idiopathic macular hole. American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2008
. 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
. Stalmans P, Benz MS, Gandorfer A et al. Enzymatic vitreolysis with ocriplasmin
for vitreomacular traction and macular holes. N Engl J Med 2012;367:606-615
JETREA(R)(ocriplasmin) is a truncated form of human plasmin. In the US, JETREA(R) is
indicated for the treatment of symptomatic VMA. In Europe, JETREA(R) is indicated for the
treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of
diameter less than or equal to 400 microns. JETREA(R) 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(R) 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 medicines. The Company’s lead product,
JETREA(R)(ocriplasmin), has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of symptomatic
VMA and was launched in January 2013.
In March 2012, ThromboGenics signed a strategic partnership with Alcon (Novartis) for
the commercialization of JETREA(R) outside the United States. Under this agreement,
ThromboGenics could receive up to a total of EUR375 million in up-front and milestone
payments. It will receive significant royalties from Alcon’s net sales of JETREA(R).
ThromboGenics and Alcon intend to share the costs equally of developing JETREA(R) for a
number of new vitreoretinal indications.
In Europe, JETREA(R) is approved for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT),
including when associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns.
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.
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