NGM clings to hopes despite Catalina crash
First, the good news for NGM Biopharmaceuticals: NGM621 did not appear to cause choroidal neovascularisations in its phase 2 geographic atrophy trial. The bad news was that the Catalina study was clearly a dud, failing its primary endpoint of rate of change in GA lesion area at one year. Still, NGM appears to be holding out some hope for the anti-complement C3 antibody, pointing to post-hoc analyses excluding patients with large, complex lesions at baseline; the group blamed Catalina’s failure on difficulties in measuring these lesions. The fate of NGM621 also depends on Merck & Co, which has an option to license the asset, but such a move now looks unlikely. NGM execs said during a conference call today that, in the event of Merck not opting in, NGM would probably seek another partner for NGM621. Drumming up interest might be another matter, however. Investors clearly do not see a path forward for the asset, with NGM’s stock plunging 71% this morning. There are no approved therapies for geographic atrophy, but this could soon change with the Pdufa date for Apellis’s intravitreal pegcetacoplan fast approaching, and Iveric set to file Zimura next year.