Michael Sacerdote
Biotech

Ophthotech: Visionary Brilliance

Ophthotech (NASDAQ:OPHT), whose IPO is scheduled for September 26th, offers a completely new approach to a common problem. The lead compound, Fovista, promises to dramatically change the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and it has performed outstandingly in phase 1 and phase 2 trials. In this article, I discuss the basic science (with a few minor glosses), the clinical trials, and -- of course -- valuations. At $490 million, Ophthotech is a bargain.

The macula is a pigmented spot on the retina responsible for high-acuity central vision. Consequently, disorders of the macula are severely disabling.

(click to enlarge)

Figure 1. Fundoscopic view of the normal retina. Open-source image adapted from Wikipedia.

Macular degeneration is a process of uncertain...

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