Swiss companies Roche and Novartis and other pharmaceutical firms are touting new treatments for a blindness-causing disease that hits millions of older people, as patent expiries are set to open up one of medicine’s most lucrative markets. Roche’s experimental treatment, faricimab, showed long-lasting effectiveness against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the Basel-based drugmaker said this week, potentially reducing the frequency of uncomfortable, direct-in-the-eye injections. Molecular Partners, together with partner Allergan, and Novartis, also released data on new AMD medicines at an industry conference in Chicago. For years, Lucentis, from Roche and Novartis, and Bayer and Regeneron’s Eylea, have dominated AMD treatment, with combined 2017 sales topping $9bn. With patent expiries starting in 2020, however, the scramble is on to preserve — or capture — a chunk of one of medicine’s hardest-fought areas, analysts say. The AMD landscape is getting more crowded and less diff...

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