Diabetic eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) are among the leading causes of blindness in developed countries. Anti-VEGF therapies such as, ranibizumab, aflibercept and off-label bevacizumab have become first-line treatment for DME. While randomized controlled trials show significant improvement in vision, these anti-VEGF agents have limited durability leading to a significant treatment burden, as reflected in real-world studies, which generally demonstrate under-treatment and less favorable visual acuity outcomes than observed in prospective trials. Alternative pathways, such as the Tie-2 angiopoietin pathway may address unmet needs, with potential for greater efficacy or durability when compared to anti-VEGF monotherapy. While some Tie-2 angiopoietin therapeutic agents, such as nesvacumab, ARP-1536 or AKB-9778, did not meet primary endpoints in clinical trials, other agents have shown promise. One such agent is faricimab, a bispecific antibody inhibiting both VEGF-A and Ang-2. The phase 3 DME trials (YOSEMITE and RHINE) demonstrated favorable safety, visual, and durability outcomes; patients receiving faricimab injection every 4 months achieved similar visual gains as those receiving aflibercept injection every 2 months. Another agent, AXT107 is a peptide that inhibits VEGFR2 and modifies Ang-2 to behave more similarly to Ang-1, promoting vascular stability. This drug is currently undergoing phase 1/2a trials for safety and bioactivity to be completed in May 2022.
Part of the book: Diabetic Eye Disease