American Society of Retina Specialists Meeting

American Society of Retina Specialists Meeting

Perspective from Timothy G. Murray, MD
July 13, 2015
2 min read

Topical squalamine shows encouraging results in phase 2 studies

Perspective from Timothy G. Murray, MD
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VIENNA — Final results of the phase 2 IMPACT study of topical squalamine lactate in the treatment of neovascular AMD showed a trend toward increased efficacy in specific lesion types, according to a speaker.

Squalamine is a small molecule that counteracts multiple growth factors implicated in the angiogenic process, including VEGF and PDGF, Jeffrey Heier, MD, said at the American Society of Retina Specialists meeting. The IMPACT study evaluated the effects of OHR-102 (0.2% squalamine lactate ophthalmic solution, Ohr Pharmaceutical) in combination with anti-VEGF in treatment-naïve patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision between 20/40 and 20/320. Patients recruited across 23 U.S. sites received Lucentis (ranibizumab, Genentech) injection at day zero and then were randomized 1-to-1 to squalamine topical therapy or placebo eye drops administered twice daily. Patients were followed monthly and re-treated with ranibizumab as needed based on strict OCT-guided criteria. The number of re-treatments were similar between the two groups.

Jeffrey Heier, MD

“Outcomes were similar with respect to mean change in vision and three-line gainers, although there was a trend toward better outcomes in the squalamine group,” Heier said, adding that, in both the classic containing lesions and the smaller occult lesions less than 4 disc areas, there was a benefit in mean change in vision and three-line gainers in the squalamine-treated group.

The topical therapy was generally well tolerated, he said. A phase 3 development program in a targeted population based on complete analysis of the IMPACT study results is under design.

In a separate presentation, John Wroblewski, MD, also reported “positive results” at week 38 of an investigator-sponsored phase 2 study of OHR-102 for treatment of macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion, according to a press release from Ohr Pharmaceutical.

The extension study followed 20 subjects who were randomized to either continue or discontinue squalamine drop therapy after initially undergoing a combined treatment with squalamine and ranibizumab in the first 10 weeks. Ranibizumab was administered monthly as needed based on OCT findings.

According to the press release, from week 10 to 38, patients in the combined treatment group vs. ranibizumab alone treatment group gained a mean of 7.4 letters in visual acuity vs. 3.1 letters. Between weeks 10 and 38, a mean of two ranibizumab injections were needed in the combined treatment group vs. 3.3 injections in the ranibizumab only group. — by Michela Cimberle

Disclosure: Heier reports he is a consultant to Alcon, Allergan, Avalanche, Bayer, ForSight Vision, Genentech, Ohr Pharmaceutical, Regeneron, RestorGenex and Xcovery.