Does This Macular Degeneration Study Deserve More Credit?

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Adverum Biotechnologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ADVM) shares dropped sharply on Thursday after the firm announced data from its Optic Phase 1 clinical trial in wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). This was presented at the Retina Society 2019 Annual Meeting in London. Despite these positive results, this seems to be a case of sell the news.

Patients achieved vision maintenance and improvements in retinal anatomy, with zero anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) rescue injections required, after a one-time intravitreal dose of ADVM-022, through week 24. These patients previously required frequent anti-VEGF injections to control their wet AMD and to maintain functional vision.

In addition to being safe and well tolerated, a single injection of ADVM-022 resulted in sustained anatomical improvements and vision maintenance.

Given these positive results from Optic, management is working with key stakeholders to continue development and seek regulatory approval of ADVM-022 to meet its goal of delivering this novel gene therapy candidate as soon as possible to patients with wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy, the second indication for ADVM-022.

Szilárd Kiss, M.D., retinal specialist, who presented the data at the Retina Society meeting, commented:

Typically, patients with wet AMD require frequent anti-VEGF injections to maintain vision, representing a substantial treatment burden that often results in vision loss due to undertreatment. The single largest unmet clinical need for these patients is for a long-lasting anti-VEGF treatment. These data on ADVM-022 are compelling, as they demonstrate for the first time that a one-time gene therapy delivered by intravitreal injection has the potential to provide sustained efficacy and transform the treatment paradigm for patients with wet AMD.

Shares of Adverum traded down more than 30% at $8.33, in a 52-week range of $2.62 to $16.38. The consensus price target is $9.75.


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