Real world data from two large-scale UK audits show that use of Bayer’s Eylea (aflibercept) in clinical practice stabilised or improved outcomes in both treatment-naïve and pre-treated patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD).

The findings reflect results seen in the pivotal VIEW clinical trials, and mark “the first time in the treatment of wet AMD that results from real-world NHS clinical audits have begun to approach those seen in randomised clinical trials,” according to Luis-Felipe Graterol, Medical Director, Bayer HealthCare.

Data from the UK-wide National Aflibercept Audit, for which sixteen NHS hospitals contributed over 3,000 patient records via Medisoft, an electronic patient record, show a mean improvement in visual acuity from baseline of six letters, which, the firm says, compares reasonably to the mean visual acuity gain of 8.4 letters seen in the VIEW trials.

For the second audit, researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital reviewed 250 consecutive patient records assessing the use of aflibercept in NHS clinical practice for treatment naïve wAMD, and found “a rapid visual acuity improvement” following initiation of treatment.

Positive impact

The results showed “a significant increase from baseline in the percentage of patients with legal driving vision after the first year of treatment; highlighting the impact that Eylea can have on patients’ lives in terms of helping them to maintain their independence and quality of life,” noted Sobha Sivaprasad, Consultant in Ophthalmology at Moorfields and King’s College Hospital.

Bayer will no doubt be particularly pleased with the results given the row in the UK over the use of Roche’s much cheaper drug Avastin (bevacizumab), which is used by doctor’s to treat wet AMD off-label. NHS commissioners claim that unrestricted use of off-label Avastin instead of Novartis’ Lucentis (ranibizumab) or Eylea could save the health service more than £100 million a year.

US sales surge

Meanwhile, Regeneron, which sells Eylea in the US, said the eye jab pulled in sales of $541 million in the country, up 51% over the year-ago period, overshooting expectations. 

On the back of its strong performance, the group has upped its 2015 US Eylea sales forecast to a rise of 30% to 35% over 2014, from its previous guidance of 25% to 30% growth.