WALTHAM, Mass., July 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS) today announced data from the GALE extension study following 30 months of continuous treatment with SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection), the first and only FDA approved treatment for geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The data, which reinforce the long-term efficacy and safety of SYFOVRE, were reported during an oral presentation at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) Annual Scientific Meeting.
“The GALE results show that SYFOVRE continues to demonstrate robust and increasing effects through 30 months with both monthly and every-other-month treatment,” said Caroline Baumal, M.D., chief medical officer, Apellis. “We are especially excited by the data showing that SYFOVRE reduced GA lesion growth by up to 45% in patients with nonsubfoveal lesions.”
In GALE, SYFOVRE reduced GA lesion growth with both monthly (39%; p<0.0001) and every-other-month (EOM) (32%; p<0.0001) treatment between Months 24 and 30 compared to the projected sham arm (all p-values nominal).
Additionally, SYFOVRE reduced nonsubfoveal GA lesion growth with monthly (45%; p<0.0001) and EOM (33%; p=0.0023) treatment between Months 24 and 30 compared to the projected sham arm.
“These positive long-term results deepen our understanding of SYFOVRE as a meaningful therapy for this progressive and irreversible disease, adding to the most robust dataset ever collected in GA,” said Nathan Steinle, M.D., presenting author, California Retina Consultants. “It is very encouraging to see that SYFOVRE continues to work better and better the longer a patient is on treatment.”
Sham-treated patients in the Phase 3 OAKS and DERBY studies were eligible to transition to SYFOVRE treatment in GALE after Month 24, so a projected sham arm was used to estimate the growth of GA lesions without treatment between Months 24 and 30. The projected sham arm was estimated as the average 6-month mean rate of change in the OAKS and DERBY sham arms through Month 24.
The safety profile of SYFOVRE in the GALE study continued to be consistent with previously reported Phase 3 data. The rate of exudative AMD is consistent with Phase 3 studies, with 7.5 and 7.2 events (monthly) and 3.9 and 3.6 events (EOM) per 100 patient years at Months 24 and 30, respectively. Between Months 24 and 30, zero non-serious adverse events of ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) were reported in either treatment group, and one serious adverse event of ION was reported in the monthly group. No cases of endophthalmitis were reported between Months 24 and 30. The rate of intraocular inflammation (IOI) was 0.26% per injection among all SYFOVRE-treated patients in the Phase 3 program. Zero events of retinal vasculitis were observed in the SYFOVRE clinical trial program, following more than 23,000 injections to date.
About the GALE Long-Term Extension Study
GALE (n=792) is a Phase 3, multicenter, open-label, extension study to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection) in patients with geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The objectives of the study are to evaluate the long-term incidence and severity of ocular and systemic treatment emergent adverse events as well as change in the total area of GA lesions as measured by fundus autofluorescence. More than 80-percent of participants who completed the OAKS and DERBY studies entered the GALE study. GALE also includes 10 patients who were previously enrolled in the Phase 1b study of pegcetacoplan for GA.
Patients included in the 30-month GALE lesion growth reduction analyses were in the SYFOVRE treatment arms through Month 24 in the OAKS and DERBY studies and remained on the same regimen in GALE.
About the Phase 3 OAKS and DERBY Studies
OAKS (n=637) and DERBY (n=621) are Phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled studies comparing the efficacy and safety of SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection) with sham injections across a broad and heterogenous population of patients with geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The studies evaluated the efficacy of monthly and every-other-month SYFOVRE in patients with GA assessed by change in the total area of GA lesions from baseline as measured by fundus autofluorescence.
In Phase 3 studies at 24 months, both every-other-month and monthly SYFOVRE reduced GA lesion growth with increasing effects over time and showed a well-demonstrated safety profile.
About Geographic Atrophy (GA)
Geographic atrophy (GA) is an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration and a leading cause of blindness worldwide, impacting more than one million Americans and five million people worldwide.1,2 It is a progressive and irreversible disease caused by the growth of lesions, which destroy the retinal cells responsible for vision. The vision loss caused by GA severely impairs independence and quality of life by making it difficult to participate in daily activities. On average, it takes only 2.5 years for GA lesions to start impacting the fovea, which is responsible for central vision.3
About SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection)
SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection) is the first and only approved therapy for geographic atrophy (GA). By targeting C3, SYFOVRE is designed to provide comprehensive control of the complement cascade, part of the body’s immune system. SYFOVRE is approved in the United States for the treatment of GA secondary to age-related macular degeneration.
Marketing applications are currently under review with five regulatory agencies worldwide. A decision in the EU is expected in early 2024, and decisions in Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are expected in the first half of 2024.
U.S. Important Safety Information for SYFOVRE® (pegcetacoplan injection)
- SYFOVRE is contraindicated in patients with ocular or periocular infections, and in patients with active intraocular inflammation
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
- Endophthalmitis and Retinal Detachments
- Intravitreal injections, including those with SYFOVRE, may be associated with endophthalmitis and retinal detachments. Proper aseptic injection technique must always be used when administering SYFOVRE to minimize the risk of endophthalmitis. Patients should be instructed to report any symptoms suggestive of endophthalmitis or retinal detachment without delay and should be managed appropriately.
- Neovascular AMD
- In clinical trials, use of SYFOVRE was associated with increased rates of neovascular (wet) AMD or choroidal neovascularization (12% when administered monthly, 7% when administered every other month and 3% in the control group) by Month 24. Patients receiving SYFOVRE should be monitored for signs of neovascular AMD. In case anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (anti-VEGF) is required, it should be given separately from SYFOVRE administration.
- Intraocular Inflammation
- In clinical trials, use of SYFOVRE was associated with episodes of intraocular inflammation including: vitritis, vitreal cells, iridocyclitis, uveitis, anterior chamber cells, iritis, and anterior chamber flare. After inflammation resolves, patients may resume treatment with SYFOVRE.
- Increased Intraocular Pressure
- Acute increase in IOP may occur within minutes of any intravitreal injection, including with SYFOVRE. Perfusion of the optic nerve head should be monitored following the injection and managed as needed.
- Most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥5%) are ocular discomfort, neovascular age-related macular degeneration, vitreous floaters, conjunctival hemorrhage.
Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information for more information.
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company that combines courageous science and compassion to develop life-changing therapies for some of the most challenging diseases patients face. We ushered in the first new class of complement medicine in 15 years and now have two approved medicines targeting C3. These include the first and only therapy for geographic atrophy, a leading cause of blindness around the world. With nearly a dozen clinical and pre-clinical programs underway, we believe we have only begun to unlock the potential of targeting C3 across many serious diseases. For more information, please visit http://apellis.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Apellis Forward-Looking Statement
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the safety profile of SYFOVRE. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including whether the benefit/risk profile of SYFOVRE following these reported events will impact our commercialization efforts; whether SYFOVRE will receive approval from foreign regulatory agencies for GA when expected or at all, including the impact on the likelihood and timing of such approvals of the reported events of retinal vasculitis; and other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of Apellis’ Annual Report on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 21, 2023 and the risks described in other filings that Apellis may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Apellis specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
1Rudnicka AR, Jarrar Z, Wormald R, et al. Age and gender variations in age-related macular degeneration prevalence in populations of European ancestry: a meta analysis. Ophthalmology 2012;119:571–580.
2Wong WL, Su X, Li X, et al. Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health 2014;2:e106–116.
3 Lindblad AS, et al, and AREDS Research Group. Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(9):1168-1174.