Genentech's Lucentis improves vision in trial

Preliminary Phase III data shows that the vast majority of patients taking Genentech's Lucentis for wet age-related macular degeneration experienced either stable conditions or saw an improvement in their vision. Altogether, 95 percent of the patients reported either stable conditions or an improvement after 12 months of treatment with the humanized antibody, which binds to the protein believed to play a big role in macular degeneration. That result hit the drug developer's primary endpoint. The news added to the outpouring of positive trial data for Genentech over the past several months and sent its shares up in early trading.

"These Lucentis data exceeded our expectations because they show, for the first time in a Phase III trial, a statistically significant improvement in vision for patients in a disease that has remained chronic and progressive despite current treatment options," said Hal Barron, MD, Genentech senior vice president, development and chief medical officer.

- read this story from the Los Angeles Times for more on the trial

PLUS: Shares of Eyetech and Eltek took a beating after Genentech's announcement. Both make competing drugs, and analysts were clearly concerned about a giant competitor talking them on with a new, and evidently superior, drug. Story

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