Research

Possible treatment for incurable form of macular degeneration

{{quote-a:r-w:400-I:2-Q:“APL-2’s effect appears to increase in the second six months of the study, slowing down the rate of degeneration by almost half.”-WHO:Dr Cedric Francois, Apellis CEO and founder}}The promising results anated from an international study that included researchers from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), and were revealed following the conclusion of Phase 2 clinical trials for the drug APL-2.Also known as the FILLY trial, the test of APL-2, developed by US-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals, was a global undertaking simultaneously conducted across 40 trial locations involving 246 patients. Seven of the test sites were in Australia.The drug, which is administered monthly via intravitreal injection, was found to have significantly reduced the progression of AMD, with a 29% reduction in the rate of geographic atrophy (GA) lesions at 12 months and another 20% each month thereafter.Additionally, in a post hoc analysis, a greater effect was observed during the second six months of the study: a reduction in GA lesion growth rate of 47% with monthly administration, and a reduction of 33% with every other month administration.CEO and founder of Apellis, Dr Cedric Francois, said the team was “very excited” about the results of the study.“In addition to donstrating a statistically significant slowing of disease over 12 months, APL-2’s effect appears to increase in the second six months of the study, slowing down the rate of degeneration by almost half,” he said.“We plan to move forward with Phase 3 studies as soon as possible.”CERA principal investigator Robyn Guymer from the University of Melbourne also said the results of the trials are very encouraging.“In the past decade, we have made trendous advances in treating one of the late complications of AMD which is called wet AMD, where blood vessels leak in the back of the eye and destroy vision rapidly. Now we are directing our attention to treating the other irreversible late complication of AMD, called dry AMD or geographic atrophy (GA),” Guymer added.According to an Apellis statent the full results, including an analysis of genetic markers, will be presented at an upcoming major medical meeting.