Adverum eyes disaster

Some investors must have been hoping that Adverum’s eye disease gene therapy still had a future after the alarming safety signal disclosed in April – hence today’s 18% downturn in the share price on news that ADVM-022 is to be shelved in diabetic macular oedema. Adverum revealed yesterday that four additional patients in the high-dose cohort of the phase 2 Infinity study also suffered clinically relevant low intraocular pressure. Adverum is taking no chances. Despite insisting that diabetic macular oedema and wet AMD had different causes, and that no cases of low eye pressure had been observed in wet AMD patients at any dose, it has also abandoned ADVM-022’s pivotal trial, Optic, in this disease. It plans to start a new phase 2 trial in wet AMD next year, using lower doses. But SVB Leerink analysts feel that there is no viable path for ’022 in wet AMD, an indication with very low tolerance for safety events and numerous highly effective therapies. Forecasts for ’022 sit at $96m in 2026, Evaluate Pharma data show, but the project seems likely to join Roche’s 4D-110 and 4D-125 and Biogen’s BIIB111 and BIIB112 on the ophthalmic gene therapy scrapheap. 

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