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“I Need to See It With My Own Eyes”: How US Ophthalmologists React to Apellis’ Syfovre Safety Warnings When Managing Geographic Atrophy

Ophthalmologists’ reservations about using Syfovre in Geographic Atrophy are more limited to “new start” patients, according to Spherix Global Insights. 

[Exton PA, December 14, 2023] — Geographic Atrophy (GA), the most severe stage of dry age-related macular degeneration (dAMD), poses a significant challenge as retinal cells atrophy, resulting in irreversible lesions that impact central vision. With the recent approvals of injectable therapies Syfovre (Apellis) in February 2023 and Izervay (Iveric/Astellas) in August 2023, the landscape for GA treatment has evolved.  

In mid-summer, the ASRS safety committee issued a warning letter to eye care professionals about vascular adverse events possible with Syfovre therapy. As GA is a condition with enormous unmet need, it was unclear how ophthalmologists would manage Syfovre use in the face of this safety signal.  

US ophthalmologists’ responses to the safety signal was truly in the eye of the beholder – the ophthalmologists’ eye. One ophthalmologist said: “I wasn’t really concerned about my patients who had already used Syfovre because I had already seen most of them back and none of them had any problems. But going forward, I am quite concerned about administering it to naive patients.” This perspective comes from Spherix Global Insights’ Launch Dynamix™: Syfovre and Izervay in GA study. 

This sentiment was echoed by the other US ophthalmologists surveyed regularly, but it is not as rosy a picture as it may seem. Since only a fraction of each doctor’s GA patients had initiated Syfovre before the July safety announcement, survey results suggest that over 60% of ophthalmologists are significantly less likely to prescribe Syfovre to new patients in the future. Further, ophthalmologists identified safety as the primary barrier to Syforve use moving forward (as expected). Over the three months following the safety warning letter, there was a 44% surge in these safety concerns.  

Spherix has been monitoring ophthalmologists’ experience with Syfovre since before the safety warning and continued monitoring their experience with the brand afterward – when Izervay was launched. Survey data suggest that perceptions of Izervay have been negatively impacted by the vasculitis warning as well. The vast majority of ophthalmologist’s are hesitant to adopt Izervay following Syfovre’s safety signal.  

In a condition where early intervention is paramount, yet effectiveness might only be seen in long-term slowing of progression, it may be hard for ophthalmologists to make a decision to use either brand with a safety-benefit ratio that is so hard to see.  

Launch Dynamix™ is an independent service providing monthly benchmarking of newly launched products for the first eighteen months of commercial availability, augmented by a quarterly deep dive into promotional activity, barriers to uptake, and patient types gravitating to the launch brand. 

About Spherix Global Insights 

Spherix Global Insights is a leading provider of market research, business intelligence and advisory services to the global life sciences industry. The company’s unique service offerings are powered by deep therapeutic knowledge, the Spherix Network specialty physician panel, and commercially relevant analyses to enable strategic decision-making by our valued customers. 

A trusted advisor and industry thought leader, Spherix Global Insights provides specialized market expertise in six (6) focused therapeutic areas including: dermatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, rheumatology, and ophthalmology. 

To learn more about Spherix Global Insights, visit or connect through LinkedIn and Twitter. 

For more details on Spherix’s primary market research reports and interactive dashboard offerings, visit or register here: 

NOTICE: All company, brand or product names in this press release are trademarks of their respective holders. The findings and opinions expressed within are based on Spherix Global Insight’s analysis and do not imply a relationship with or endorse.

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