Ocular drug development--future directions

Angiogenesis. 2007;10(2):71-6. doi: 10.1007/s10456-007-9068-y. Epub 2007 Mar 13.


Technology has caught up with retinal diseases of neovasculature. Work with anti-cancer, anti-angiogenic agents has fueled the way for ocular therapeutics. The market size for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy is huge. Fifteen million people in the United States alone have age-related macular degeneration with 2 million new cases each year (1). About 20.8 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of those, 14.6 million are diagnosed and 6.2 million are undiagnosed (2). Of patients who have had type 1 diabetics for more than 20 years, 50% will have proliferative diabetic retinopathy (3). Between 60% and 80% of type 2 diabetics will manifest retinopathy after 15 years, and 20% will progress to proliferative retinopathy after 25 years of duration (4). Big pharma and biotech were complacent in developing drugs capable of having effect on ocular neovascular diseases even though technologies were available, at least on the research level, long before there was serious activity to bring such technologies to the clinic. Finally, over the last three years, triple digit million dollar business development deals have been consummated, mostly for VEGF-A targeted modalities. Such biodollar partnerships were the eye openers which have now led to a concerted action to develop ocular drugs to combat ocular neovascularization. Anti-VEGF-A technologies do not constitute the whole story. Agents with broader activity, activity that occurs later down the angiogenic pathway and those drugs which are capable to synergize with anti-VEGF-A technologies will dominate the next wave in ocular diseases of neovascularization and will lead the next round of significant business development deals.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Eye Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • United States
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A