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FDA Approves Genentech’s Vabysmo for the Treatment of Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)

  • RVO is the third indication for Vabysmo, in addition to wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema
  • Approval is based on two Phase III studies demonstrating early and sustained vision improvements that were non-inferior to aflibercept
  • Vabysmo also demonstrated rapid and robust drying of retinal fluid
  • Additional U.S. label update across indications includes information on rare post-marketing reports of retinal vasculitis and/or retinal vascular occlusion; reporting rate is in line with other broadly used intravitreal treatments

South San Francisco, CA — October 26, 2023 — Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa) for the treatment of macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO). RVO is the third indication for Vabysmo, in addition to wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME). Together, the three retinal conditions affect around 3 million people in the U.S. and are among the leading causes of vision loss.

“Vabysmo is a new treatment option for RVO that can help people preserve and improve their vision, with the added benefit of retinal drying,” said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., Genentech’s chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “The efficacy and safety profile of Vabysmo has been well established in global clinical trials and is reinforced by a growing breadth of real-world evidence, with hundreds of thousands of people treated.”

Vabysmo is the first and only bispecific antibody approved for the eye. Today’s approval in RVO is based on positive results from the global Phase III BALATON and COMINO studies that demonstrated monthly treatment with Vabysmo provided early and sustained improvement in vision in people with branch and central RVO, meeting the primary endpoint of non-inferior visual acuity gains at 24 weeks compared to aflibercept. This was further supported by data showing Vabysmo achieved rapid and robust drying of retinal fluid. In BALATON and COMINO, Vabysmo was generally well tolerated and the safety profile was consistent with previous trials. The most common adverse reaction was conjunctival hemorrhage (3%). Safety results were consistent across study arms.

Information has also been added to the Warnings & Precautions section of the U.S. label based on rare post-marketing cases of retinal vasculitis and/or retinal vascular occlusion, typically in the presence of intraocular inflammation. The reported rate of retinal vasculitis with vascular occlusion is 0.06 per 10,000 injections, in line with real-world reported frequencies of other broadly used intravitreal treatments for people living with wet AMD, DME and RVO.

To date, Vabysmo is approved in more than 80 countries around the world for people living with wet AMD and DME, with approximately 2 million doses distributed globally.

About Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)

RVO is the second most common cause of vision loss due to retinal vascular conditions. It affects more than 1 million people in the U.S., mainly those aged 60 or older, and can lead to severe and sudden vision loss. The level of angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) is elevated in RVO and it is thought that increased Ang-2 expression drives disease progression. RVO typically results in sudden, painless vision loss in the affected eye because the vein blockage restricts normal blood flow in the affected retina, resulting in ischemia, bleeding, fluid leakage and retinal swelling called macular edema. Currently, macular edema due to RVO is typically treated with repeated intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapies. There are two main types of RVO: branch retinal vein occlusion, which affects an estimated 887,000 people in the U.S. and occurs when one of the four smaller branches of the main central retinal vein becomes blocked; and central retinal vein occlusion, which is less common, affecting an estimated 265,000 people in the U.S., and occurs when the eye’s central retinal vein becomes blocked.

About the BALATON and COMINO Studies

BALATON (NCT04740905) and COMINO (NCT04740931) are two randomized, multicenter, double-masked, global Phase III studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of Vabysmo®️ (faricimab-svoa) compared to aflibercept. For the first 20 weeks, patients were randomized 1:1 to receive monthly injections for six months of either Vabysmo (6.0 mg) or aflibercept (2.0 mg). From weeks 24 to 72, all patients received Vabysmo (6.0 mg) up to every four months, using a treat-and-extend dosing regimen.

The BALATON study was conducted in 553 people with branch retinal vein occlusion. The COMINO study was conducted in 729 people with central retinal or hemiretinal vein occlusion. The primary endpoint of each study was the change in best-corrected visual acuity from baseline at 24 weeks. Secondary endpoints (weeks 0-24) included change in central subfield thickness and drying of retinal fluid, from baseline over time up to week 24. Secondary endpoints (weeks 24-72) were treatment durability at 68 weeks and continuation of weeks 0-24 endpoints.

About the Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa) Clinical Development Program

Genentech has a robust Phase III clinical development program for Vabysmo. The program includes AVONELLE-X, an extension study of TENAYA and LUCERNE, evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in wet, or neovascular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and RHONE-X, an extension study of YOSEMITE and RHINE, evaluating the long-term safety and tolerability of Vabysmo in diabetic macular edema (DME). Genentech has also initiated several Phase IV studies, including the ELEVATUM study of Vabysmo in underrepresented patient populations with DME, the SALWEEN study of Vabysmo in a subpopulation of wet AMD highly prevalent in Asia, as well as the VOYAGER study, a global real-world data collection platform. Genentech also supports several other independent studies to further understand retinal conditions with a high unmet need.

About Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa)

Vabysmo is the first bispecific antibody approved for the eye. It targets and inhibits two signaling pathways linked to a number of vision-threatening retinal conditions by neutralizing angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). While research is underway to better understand the role of the Ang-2 pathway in retinal disease, Ang-2 and VEGF-A are thought to contribute to vision loss by destabilizing blood vessels, which may cause new leaky blood vessels to form and increase inflammation. By blocking pathways involving Ang-2 and VEGF-A, Vabysmo is designed to stabilize blood vessels.

Vabysmo U.S. Indications

Vabysmo (faricimab-svoa) is a prescription medicine given by injection into the eye, used to treat adults with neovascular (wet) age‑related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME) and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

Important Safety Information


Vabysmo is contraindicated in patients who have an infection in or around their eye, have active swelling around their eye that may include pain and redness, or are allergic to Vabysmo or any of the ingredients in Vabysmo.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Injections like the one for Vabysmo can cause an eye infection (endophthalmitis) or separation of layers of the retina (retinal detachment). Patients should seek medical care if they experience increasing eye pain, vision loss, sensitivity to light, or redness in the white of the eye.
  • Vabysmo may cause a temporary increase in pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure), which occurs 60 minutes after the injection.
  • Although not common, Vabysmo patients have had serious, sometimes fatal, problems related to blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes (thromboembolic events). In clinical studies for wet AMD during the first year, 7 out of 664 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event. In DME studies from baseline to week 100, 64 out of 1,262 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event. In clinical studies for RVO during 6 months, 7 out of 641 patients treated with Vabysmo reported such an event.
  • Retinal vasculitis and/or retinal vascular occlusion, typically in the presence of intraocular inflammation, have been reported with the use of Vabysmo. Healthcare providers should discontinue treatment with Vabysmo in patients who develop these events. Patients should be instructed to report any change in vision without delay.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) reported in patients receiving Vabysmo were cataract (15%) and blood on the white of the eye (conjunctival hemorrhage, 8%). These are not all the possible side effects of Vabysmo.

Pregnancy, Lactation, Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

  • Based on how Vabysmo interacts with your body, there may be a potential risk to an unborn baby. Patients should use birth control before their first injection, during their treatment with Vabysmo, and for 3 months after their last dose of Vabysmo.
  • It is not known if Vabysmo passes into breast milk. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about the best way to feed their baby if they receive Vabysmo.

Patients may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or Patients may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see additional Important Safety Information in the full Vabysmo Prescribing Information or visit

About Genentech in Ophthalmology

Genentech is researching and developing new treatments for people living with a range of eye diseases that cause significant visual impairment and blindness, including wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy (DR), geographic atrophy (GA) and other retinal diseases.

About Genentech

Founded more than 40 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious and life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit

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