Novartis reports positive topline results from second Phase III trial of Beovu in patients with diabetic macular edema

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Novartis today announced positive findings from the first interpretable results of the Phase III KESTREL study, assessing the efficacy and safety of Beovu (brolucizumab) 3 mg and 6 mg in diabetic macular edema (DME). Following KITE*, KESTREL is the second pivotal Phase III study of Beovu in DME. The trial met its primary endpoint of non-inferiority in change in best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) from baseline of Beovu 6 mg to aflibercept 2 mg at year one. The trial also met its key secondary endpoint of non-inferiority in average change in BCVA of Beovu 6 mg to aflibercept 2 mg over week 40 through week 521. (Beovu 6 mg is the marketed dose for wet AMD.)

More than half of patients in the Beovu 6 mg arm were maintained on a three-month dosing interval through year one, following the loading phase1. Patients treated with Beovu 6 mg experienced significant improvement in change of central subfield thickness (CST) from baseline over the period of week 40 through week 521. As non-inferiority in change in BCVA of brolucizumab 3 mg was not demonstrated in KESTREL, no confirmatory testing of superiority on anatomical outcomes was performed. Further analyses on anatomical outcomes from KESTREL are ongoing.

“These results demonstrate that Beovu has the potential, if approved, to offer DME patients better disease management,” said Dirk Sauer, Global Head Development, Novartis Pharma Ophthalmology. “Based on these data and the strong results we saw earlier this year from the KITE clinical study, we look forward to working with regulatory authorities to bring Beovu to DME patients.”

In KESTREL, Beovu demonstrated an overall well-tolerated safety profile1.

Novartis announced positive topline results from another pivotal phase III study, KITE, in September 2020. The results from KESTREL support the positive results seen in KITE, reinforcing Beovu as a potential new treatment option for DME patients.

The data from KITE and KESTREL will be submitted to upcoming medical meetings and for peer-review publication. Novartis intends to submit the data from both KITE and KESTREL to health authorities in H1 2021 and looks forward to working with regulators worldwide to make Beovu available to DME patients in need.

About Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is the leading cause of blindness in young adults in developed countries, including 12% of people with type 1 diabetes and 28% of those with type 2 diabetes3.

Consistently high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage small blood vessels in the eye, causing them to leak fluid4. The resulting accumulation of fluid (known as edema) in the macula can lead to vision loss5. The macula is the area of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision5.

Early symptoms of DME include blurry or wavy central vision and distorted color perception, although the disease can also progress without symptoms at early stages4,5.

About Beovu (brolucizumab)
Beovu (brolucizumab, also known as RTH258) is approved in more than 50 countries, including in the US6, EU7, UK7, Japan8, Canada9 and Australia10, for the treatment of wet AMD. Additional trials are currently ongoing which study the effects of brolucizumab in patients with AMD, diabetic macular edema, retinal vein occlusion and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Brolucizumab is the most clinically advanced humanized single-chain antibody fragment (scFv)11-13. Single-chain antibody fragments are highly sought after in drug development due to their small size, enhanced tissue penetration, rapid clearance from systemic circulation and drug delivery characteristics13-15.

The proprietary innovative structure results in a small molecule (26 kDa) with potent inhibition of, and high affinity to, all VEGF-A isoforms14. Beovu is engineered to deliver the highest concentration of drug, providing more active binding agents11-13. In preclinical studies, Beovu inhibited activation of VEGF receptors through prevention of the ligand-receptor interaction14-16. Increased signaling through the VEGF pathway is associated with pathologic ocular angiogenesis and retinal edema17. Inhibition of the VEGF pathway has been shown to inhibit the growth of neovascular lesions and suppress endothelial cell proliferation and vascular permeability17.

*Kite Pharma, Inc. is neither a sponsor nor associated with Novartis’ KITE trial.

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