ATLANTA, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Alimera Sciences, Inc., (NASDAQ: ALIM) (Alimera), a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, today announced the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany (Bundesministerium fur Gesundheit, BfArM) has granted marketing authorization to ILUVIEN® for the treatment of vision impairment associated with chronic diabetic macular edema (DME) considered insufficiently responsive to available therapies.
This marketing authorization follows the completion of the Decentralized Regulatory Procedure (DCP), in which the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the United Kingdom, serving as the Reference Member State (RMS), delivered a positive outcome for ILUVIEN along with six Concerned Members States (CMS), which include Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The German authorization is the fifth national approval in the EU, preceded by Austria, Portugal, the U.K. and France.
"We are very pleased to receive German marketing authorization for ILUVIEN, our fifth of seven expected approvals in the European Union," said Dan Myers, president and chief executive officer, Alimera Sciences. "Assuming the closing of our recently announced financing, we anticipate that we will launch ILUVIEN in Germany during the first quarter of 2013."
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that more than 5 million people are currently living with diabetes in Germany, and according to Alimera's estimates, more than 215,000 people suffer from vision loss associated with DME.
ILUVIEN is Alimera's sustained release intravitreal implant that delivers sub-microgram levels of fluocinolone acetonide (FAc) for up to 36 months for the treatment of chronic DME. The clinical trial data showed that in patients with chronic DME at month 30, after receiving the ILUVIEN implant, 38 percent of patients experienced an improvement from baseline in their best corrected visual acuity on the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) eye chart of 15 letters or more. At the completion of the 36-month study, 34 percent had achieved the same result. This effect was highly statistically significant as compared to the sham control group, which received laser and other intravitreally administered therapies.
"ILUVIEN will be a timely and much needed addition to the German market. As the largest country in Europe with a growing incidence of diabetic macular edema, it has more DME patients than any of the other six countries," said Albert J. Augustin, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, Klinikum Karlsruhe, Germany. "The approval of ILUVIEN in Germany will have a significant impact for the many patients with this chronic, debilitating disease."
ILUVIEN (190 micrograms fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant in applicator) is a sustained release intravitreal implant used to treat chronic DME. Each ILUVIEN implant provides a therapeutic effect of up to 36 months by delivering sustained sub-microgram levels of fluocinolone acetonide (FAc). ILUVIEN is inserted in the back of the patient's eye to a position that takes advantage of the eye's natural fluid dynamics. The applicator employs a 25-gauge needle, which allows for a self-sealing wound.
Clinical trial data from the FAME Study showed that in patients with chronic DME at month 30, after receiving the ILUVIEN implant, 38 percent of patients experienced an improvement from baseline in their best corrected visual acuity on the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) eye chart of 15 letters or more. At the completion of the 36-month study, 34 percent had achieved the same result. This effect was highly statistically significant (p<0.001) as compared to the sham control group, which received laser and other intravitreally administered therapies.
In July 2010, Alimera submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to seven European countries via the Decentralized Procedure (DCP) with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency of the U.K. (MHRA) serving as the Reference Member State (RMS). The MAA included data from two Phase 3 pivotal clinical trials (collectively known as the FAME Study) for ILUVIEN conducted by Alimera. The trials involved 956 patients in sites across the United States, Canada, Europe and India to assess the efficacy and safety of ILUVIEN for the treatment of DME. At the end of the DCP, a consensus was reached by the RMS and the other six countries that the MAA for ILUVIEN is approvable. To date, five of the seven countries, Austria, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France and Germany have granted national licenses for ILUVIEN. ILUVIEN has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
About FAME Safety
Safety was assessed among those patients treated with ILUVIEN who were in the subgroup of patients with DME for three years or more and were considered to have chronic DME. Intraocular pressure (IOP) increases to 30 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or greater at any time point were seen in 12.7% of these patients by month 36, compared to 18.4% in the full ILUVIEN treated patient population. By month 36, 3.6% of these patients had undergone an incisional surgical procedure to reduce elevated IOP, compared to 4.8% in the full patient population. The incidence of cataracts among patients with a natural lens in their eye at the start of the study was 84.1% at month 36, with 87.3% undergoing a cataract operation, compared to 81.7% and 80.0%, respectively, in the full patient population.
DME, the primary cause of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy, is a disease affecting the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. When the blood vessel leakage of diabetic retinopathy causes swelling in the macula, the condition has progressed to DME. The onset of DME is painless and may go undetected by the patient until it manifests with the blurring of central vision or acute vision loss. The severity of this blurring may range from mild to profound loss of vision. As the population of people with diabetes increases, it is anticipated that the annual incidence of diagnosed DME will increase.
About Alimera Sciences, Inc.
Alimera Sciences, Inc., based in Alpharetta, Georgia, is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. Presently Alimera is focused on diseases affecting the back of the eye, or retina. Its primary product, ILUVIEN, is an intravitreal implant containing fluocinolone acetonide (FAc), a non-proprietary corticosteroid with demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of ocular disease.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding, among other things, Alimera's commercial plans for ILUVIEN in Germany. Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, and could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in its forward-looking statements. Meaningful factors which could cause actual results to differ include, but are not limited to, uncertainty as to Alimera's ability to commercialize (alone or with others), and market acceptance of, ILUVIEN in Germany, as well as other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" sections of Alimera's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, which are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. There can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by Alimera will be realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on, Alimera. Therefore, no assurance can be given that the outcomes stated in such forward-looking statements and estimates will be achieved.
All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are expressly qualified by the cautionary statements contained or referred to herein. Alimera cautions investors not to rely too heavily on the forward-looking statements Alimera makes or that are made on its behalf. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release (unless another date is indicated). Alimera undertakes no obligation, and specifically declines any obligation, to publicly update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE Alimera Sciences, Inc.