• By Neasa McGarrigle and Kanaga Rajan
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Three blind mice and many more can see again thanks to a new technique that directly reprograms skin cells into rod photoreceptors. Scientists from the NEI developed the method—which skips a time-consuming step of turning skin cells into stem cells prior to reprogramming them into photoreceptors—that uses a chemical means to produce light-sensing cells in as little as 10 days rather than 6 months. Within a month, half of the treated mice showed robust pupil constriction under low light compared with none of the untreated controls. “Of immediate benefit will be the ability to quickly develop disease models so we can study mechanisms of disease,” according to NEI's chief of neurobiology, Anand Swaroop, PhD. NEI 

    Faricimab provides sustained efficacy for neovascular AMD, according to recent results shared at ARVOLearn. The 52-week phase 2 STAIRWAY trial revealed that extended 12- and 16-week dosing regimens of faricimab were comparable to monthly ranibizumab treatment. Faricimab led to similar improvements in BCVA, central subfield thickness, choroidal neovascularization lesion size and fluorescein angiography without introducing new or unexpected safety concerns. Two large phase 3 trials are also underway to compare the bispecific antibody versus aflibercept. MD Mag

    Santen’s eyedrops will now come in sustainable packaging. In an attempt to limit plastic waste and lower carbon emissions, Santen is introducing bottles made of plant-derived biomass plastic. The bottles remain carbon neutral even when incinerated and don’t require any fossil fuels to make. The company plans to start with Timoptol eyedrop bottles before expanding to other products. Santen

    Phase 3 results indicate a novel nasal spray significantly improves both signs and symptoms of dry eye diseaseOyster Point Pharma’s ONSET-2 trial showed that more patients treated with 0.6 mg/ml and 1.2 mg/ml of varenicline (OC-01) showed significant gains on Schirmer’s score compared with controls. The study also met secondary endpoints, including an improvement in eye dryness score. The company plans to submit a new drug application later this year in hopes of a 2021 U.S. launch. Oyster Point Pharma

    Abbvie has completed its acquisition of Allergan after satisfying all regulatory requirements. The biopharmaceutical firm cleared the final hurdle to its acquisition of Dublin-based Allergan last week when the Irish High Court gave its approval. This follows approval from the European Commission and Federal Trade Commission earlier this year when the companies satisfied anti-trust requirements by divesting several assets. Abbvie now owns the dry eye drug Restasis, macular edema implant Ozurdex and uveitis treatment adalimumab. Abbvie