Emixustat Hydrochloride for Geographic Atrophy Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Ophthalmology. 2018 Oct;125(10):1556-1567. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.03.059. Epub 2018 Apr 30.


Purpose: To determine whether emixustat hydrochloride (emixustat) reduces the rate of enlargement of geographic atrophy (GA) compared with placebo in subjects with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and to evaluate the safety and tolerability of emixustat over 24 months of treatment.

Design: Multicenter, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled, phase 2b/3 clinical trial.

Participants: Patients with GA secondary to AMD, a visual acuity score of at least 35 letters, and GA with a total area of 1.25 to 18 mm2 were enrolled.

Methods: Subjects were randomized (1:1:1:1) to emixustat 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, or placebo, administered orally once daily for 24 months. Visits included screening, baseline, and months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, and 25.

Main outcome measures: The primary efficacy end point was the mean annual growth rate of total GA area in the study eye, as measured by a central reading center using fundus autofluorescence (FAF) images. The change from baseline in normal luminance best-corrected visual acuity (NL-BCVA) was a secondary efficacy end point.

Results: Of 508 randomized subjects, 320 completed the study. Demographics and baseline characteristics were comparable between treatment groups. On average, GA lesions in the study eye grew at a similar rate in each group (emixustat: 1.69 to 1.84 mm2/year; placebo: 1.69 mm2/year; P ≥ 0.81). Changes in NL-BCVA were also comparable between groups. Subjects with a larger low luminance deficit (LLD) at baseline (≥20 letters) demonstrated a more rapid growth of GA over 24 months. No relationship was observed between the risk-allele status of the AMD-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms tested and the growth rate of GA. The most common adverse events in emixustat-treated subjects were delayed dark adaptation (55%), chromatopsia (18%), visual impairment (15%), and erythropsia (15%).

Conclusions: Emixustat did not reduce the growth rate of GA in AMD. The most common adverse events were ocular in nature and likely related to the drug's mechanism of action. Data gained from this study over a 2-year period add to the understanding of the natural history of GA and the baseline characteristics affecting the growth rate of GA.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01802866.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Geographic Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Geographic Atrophy / drug therapy*
  • Geographic Atrophy / etiology
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / pathology*
  • Macular Degeneration / complications*
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Phenyl Ethers / administration & dosage*
  • Propanolamines / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity*


  • Phenyl Ethers
  • Propanolamines
  • emixustat

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01802866