Roche’s Genentech Exercises Option for Ophthotech’s Muscular Degeneration Drug

November 23, 2015

Roche subsidiary Genentech will exercise its option to commercialize Ophthotech’s wet age-related macular degeneration drug Fovista with Novartis outside the U.S.

Under a 2014 deal, Novartis agreed to pay Ophthotech more than $1 billion in upfront and potential milestone payments for exclusive rights to commercialize Fovista (pegpleranib) outside the U.S. Roche has a preexisting option agreement with Novartis to split these rights and has now chosen to exercise that option, Ophthotech says.

Ophthotech retains commercial rights to the drug in the U.S. and will lead the global Phase 3 wet AMD pivotal clinical program. Two of the Phase 3 trials are studying Fovista in combination with anti-VEGF Lucentis (ranibizumab), which is marketed by Genentech. One of the Phase 3 trials will study Fovista in combination with other anti-VEGF products. Genentech markets Lucentis for wet AMD, macular edema and diabetic macular edema.

Fovista targets platelet-derived growth factor to disrupt abnormal blood vessels from forming.  If approved, it is expected to be the first to market in this class of therapies for wet AMD.