TARRYTOWN, N.Y. and BERLIN, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Bayer HealthCare today announced that they have initiated the first of two Phase 3 clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of VEGF Trap-Eye (aflibercept ophthalmic solution), an investigational new agent for the treatment of certain eye diseases, in the treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).  The companies are extending their development program for VEGF Trap-Eye in DME after promising results in the global Phase 2 DME program.

The first Phase 3 trial in DME, named VIVID-DME, is being led by Bayer HealthCare and has started in Australia.  The trial will also be conducted in Europe and Japan.  A second study led by Regeneron, named VISTA-DME, is expected to begin later in 2011 in the United States, Canada, and other countries.  

"Clinically significant DME is a leading cause of vision loss in adults under the age of 50 suffering from diabetes," said Dr. Kemal Malik, Head of Global Development and member of the Bayer HealthCare Executive Committee.  "After reporting positive results from our global Phase 3 program (VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 studies) for the treatment of the neovascular form of age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), we are pleased to start a Phase 3 program with VEGF Trap-Eye in DME which may help to address this significant unmet medical need."

The Phase 3 program in DME expands the companies' global development collaboration for VEGF Trap-Eye.  The companies announced positive data for two Phase 3 studies in patients with wet AMD in November 2010 and for the first of two Phase 3 studies in patients with Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO) in December 2010.

About the Phase 3 DME Program

The VIVID-DME study (VEGF Trap-Eye In Vision Impairmen