Molecular Therapy | 2019
Preclinical Evaluation of ADVM-022, a Novel Gene Therapy Approach to Treating Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor, a key contributor to the choroidal neovascularization associated with wet age-related macular degeneration, is the mode of action of several approved therapies, including aflibercept, which requires frequent intravitreal injections to provide clinical benefit. Lack of compliance with the dosing schedule may result in recurrence of active wet macular degeneration, leading to irreversible vision impairment. Gene therapy providing sustained anti-vascular endothelial growth factor levels in the retina following a single injection could drastically reduce the treatment burden and improve visual outcomes. ADVM-022, an adeno-associated virus vector encoding aflibercept, is optimized for intravitreal delivery and strong protein expression. Here, we report the long-term expression and efficacy of ADVM-022-derived aflibercept in a laser-induced choroidal neovascularization model in non-human primates. Intravitreal administration of ADVM-022 was well tolerated and resulted in sustained aflibercept levels. In addition, ADVM-022 administration 13 months before lasering prevented the occurrence of clinically relevant choroidal neovascularization lesions, similar to animals that received a bolus of intravitreal aflibercept (standard of care) at the time of lesioning. These results demonstrate that a single intravitreal administration of ADVM-022 may provide a safe and effective long-term treatment option for wet macular degeneration and may ultimately improve patients’ visual outcomes.