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KalVista drug fails to improve vision in patients with diabetic macular edema

KalVista Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s medicine KVD001 failed to correct the vision of patients with diabetic macular edema who had previously not responded to other therapies in a mid-stage clinical trial.

KVD001 was tested in 129 patients with the disorder, which causes a build up of fluid in a part of the eye that controls detailed vision. Diabetic macular edema is a common problem in patients with diabetes, and is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. Patients in the phase 2 trial had previously tried other therapies but failed to see improvement, KalVista said in a Dec. 9 press release.

The therapy did not improve vision when compared to placebo, failing the main goal of the clinical trial, according to KalVista. KVD001 also did not meet secondary goals of the study, including changes in the thickness of a part of the eye called the central subfield. The drug, which is delivered by injection, was otherwise well tolerated and no side effects were noted.

KalVista CEO Andrew Crockett said some response was seen in the overall population of the trial, and some patients did see a response that the executive says warrants more study. The company said KVD001 demonstrated a potential to guard against vision loss.

Cambridge, Mass.-based KalVista has an agreement with Merck & Co. Inc. to share data on KVD001. The Kenilworth, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant will decide based on that information whether to exercise a development option for the medicine. Should the option move forward, KalVista will receive a payment, plus milestone and royalty payments.