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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 19, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Not CATTching many eyes

Despite 36 serious adverse events

reported in patients given Avastin bevacizumab off-label for age-related macular degeneration, research clinicians polled by BioCentury are inclined to keep using the drug for the indication. They say they are unlikely to switch to Lucentis ranibizumab, which is indicated for AMD, unless or until something unexpected emerges from the ongoing CATT study comparing the two drugs.

Genentech Inc. issued a Dear Healthcare Provider letter last month announcing that 36 intraocular AEs were reported in Canada among patients receiving Avastin off-label for eye conditions. These included 32 cases that were characterized as serious intraocular inflammation reactions.

Company spokesperson Krysta Pellegrino said Genentech felt compelled to issue the letter because "this represented the largest cluster of ocular events ever recorded."

Avastin is a full-length mAb against VEGF that is approved to treat breast, colorectal and non-small cell lung cancers. Lucentis is a mAb fragment that inhibits VEGF-A and is approved to treat wet AMD. Lucentis is smaller and has a shorter half-life, features that Genentech believes make it more optimal for intravitreal use.

Because Avastin is approved...

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