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Regeneron's blockbuster drug meets objective of late-stage study

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its treatment Eylea met the 24-week objective of an ongoing study known as Panorama.

Eylea, which is also known as aflibercept, is being evaluated in patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a disease that affects vision and can cause blindness.

In the trial, 58% of Eylea-treated patients had an improvement in their vision after 24 weeks of treatment, which compares to 6% of the patients that received placebo.

"This is the first time a therapy has demonstrated it can reverse disease progression in patients with moderately severe to severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy without diabetic macular edema, in a trial specifically designed to study this population," New York-based Regeneron's president and chief scientific officer, George Yancopoulos, said in a statement.

Regeneron will release further results once the drug is dosed for a full 52 weeks.

The company noted no new safety issues. Recently, the company said an investigation into the increase in a rare side effect in patients receiving Eylea was linked to syringes used to inject the medicine into the eye, not the treatment itself.

Regeneron said it will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval later this year to expand the drug's indication.

Eylea is already approved in the U.S. for certain vision-related diseases. The drug is the primary revenue driver for Regeneron, raking in $5.93 billion in sales in 2017.

France's Sanofi owns a 22.19% stake in Regeneron, according to S&P Capital IQ data.