No­var­tis scraps a slate of Beovu tri­als af­ter 4-week dos­ing turned up safe­ty is­sues — dash­ing hopes of de­thron­ing Eylea

Safe­ty con­cerns have forced No­var­tis to slam the brakes on a trio of late-stage clin­i­cal stud­ies for its eye drug Beovu, mar­ring grand am­bi­tions to chal­lenge the throne cur­rent­ly oc­cu­pied by Re­gen­eron’s Eylea.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors flagged high­er rates of in­traoc­u­lar in­flam­ma­tion while re­view­ing re­sults from the Phase III MER­LIN study. Pit­ted head to head against Eylea and dosed every four weeks fol­low­ing a load­ing phase, Beovu ac­tu­al­ly hit the pri­ma­ry end­point of non-in­fe­ri­or­i­ty in change in best cor­rect­ed vi­su­al acu­ity from base­line out to one year. But there were al­so more cas­es of reti­nal vas­culi­tis and reti­nal vas­cu­lar oc­clu­sion among those giv­en the No­var­tis drug — in some cas­es lead­ing to vi­sion loss.

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