Iveric Bio, an Astellas-acquired biotech company, has initiated a compelling awareness campaign for a disease it recently gained FDA approval to treat. In a bid to raise awareness, the company has enlisted the support of two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Eric Stonestreet. Stonestreet, renowned for his role as Cameron Tucker in the ABC sitcom “Modern Family,” will join his mother, Jamey, in sharing their personal experiences with geographic atrophy (GA), a variant of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that leads to irreversible vision loss.
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There is a poignant family connection to this campaign, as Stonestreet’s maternal grandmother, Helen, grappled with significant vision loss due to AMD and was subsequently diagnosed with GA. Additionally, Stonestreet’s mother, Jamey, has been diagnosed with AMD.
“After watching how quickly my grandma Helen’s vision loss progressed, my family and I are motivated to prioritise our eye health. Knowing that GA runs in the family is why I am proactive about seeing my doctor for regular eye exams, and my mom regularly visits her eye doctor to stay on top of her AMD.”
The campaign features a dedicated website featuring a video starring Stonestreet and his mother, infused with a comedic touch reminiscent of “Modern Family.” While the site and video prominently display Iveric’s logo, they do not explicitly reference GA drugs.
In a strategic move earlier this year, Astellas acquired Iveric Bio for $5.9 billion, positioning itself as a key player in the emerging niche of eye diseases. This acquisition was motivated by the substantial promise of avacincaptad pegol, a complement C5 protein inhibitor that demonstrated a reduced rate of GA progression in a phase 3 clinical trial.
Remarkably, just a few months later, the FDA granted approval for the drug, now marketed as Izervay. It is poised to compete with Apellis’ Syfovre, which received US regulatory approval earlier in the year.
With these two treatments representing the sole options for the condition, and their introductions closely spaced in time, the emerging market holds significant potential. An estimated 1.5 million Americans are believed to be affected by GA. While it remains in the early stages, analysts anticipate that the field will evolve into a blockbuster category in the coming years, mirroring the growth observed in the wet AMD market.