The fact that doctors are using Avastin bevacizumab and Lucentis ranibizumab less often than their recommended once-monthly dosing to treat wet AMD has the potential to work both for and against Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s bi-monthly Eylea aflibercept.
On one hand, some physicians are becoming more comfortable prescribing Avastin and Lucentis less frequently, potentially blunting Eylea's dosing advantage. On the other, their comfort with experimenting with Avastin and Lucentis dosing could carry over to experimenting with even less frequent dosing of Eylea.
The missing variable is Eylea's price, which Regeneron hasn't disclosed. Avastin's price tag is $50 per dose, whereas Lucentis' is $2,000. If Eylea's price is at or above that of Lucentis, initial use of the compound is likely to be limited to patients who don't respond to the two anti-VEGF drugs.
"Interest in using Eylea will depend on the price," said Dean Eliott, a retina surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. "If it is extraordinarily expensive, it may be used less or not at all; if it is cheap, it could get used almost