German pharmaceutical group Bayer and US partner Regeneron launched Tuesday advanced tests on a treatment for pathologic Myopia, a serious eye condition highly prevalent in Asian countries.
The two companies began so-called Phase III clinical trials in collaboration with the Singapore Eye Research Institute to determine the efficacy and safety of the product VEGF Trap-Eye, a Bayer statement said.
"With this study, we hope to show the efficacy of VEGF Trap-Eye in combating yet another important cause of vision loss, myopic choroidal neovascularization (CNV)," it quoted Bayer vice president Rupert Sandbrink as saying.
Tests have begun in Japan and are to be extended to China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan before authorisation for sale is sought in 2013.
People suffering from myopic CNV have "abnormal blood vessels that grow and leak blood and fluid into the retina as a result of degenerative changes in the retinal lining of the eye," the statement said.
It can eventually cause blindness, and as yet has no specific treatment, but VEGF Trap-Eye has already produced positive results with a similar disorder, neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Bayer added.
That is the main cause of blindness in elderly people, the German group said in a statement released in December
It estimated then that VEGF Trap-Eye sales could amount to 250-500 million euros ($335-670 million) per year.
Bayer shares showed a gain Tuesday of 0.81 percent to 55.75 euros in afternoon trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange, which was 0.82 percent higher overall.