Purpose: The phase 2 BOULEVARD trial compared safety and efficacy of faricimab, a novel bispecific antibody targeting angiopoietin-2 and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), with ranibizumab in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME). Design: The BOULEVARD trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier, NCT02699450) was a prospective, randomized, active comparator-controlled, double-masked, multicenter, phase 2 study conducted at 59 sites in the United States. Participants: The trial enrolled patients 18 years of age or older with center-involving DME, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 73 to 24 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) letters, and central subfield thickness (CST) of 325 μm or more. Methods: Anti-VEGF treatment-naïve patients were randomized 1:1:1 to intravitreal 6.0 mg faricimab, 1.5 mg faricimab, or 0.3 mg ranibizumab, and patients previously treated with anti-VEGF were randomized 1:1 to 6.0 mg faricimab or 0.3 mg ranibizumab. Patients were dosed monthly for 20 weeks, followed by an observation period up to week 36 to assess durability. Main Outcome Measures: The prespecified primary outcome measure was mean change in BCVA from baseline at week 24 for faricimab versus ranibizumab in treatment-naïve patients. Key secondary and exploratory outcome measures included CST, Diabetic Retinopathy Severity Scale (DRSS) score, and durability as assessed by time to re-treatment. Results: The trial enrolled 229 patients (168 treatment-naïve and 61 previously treated with anti-VEGF). In treatment-naïve patients, 6.0 mg faricimab, 1.5 mg faricimab, and 0.3 mg ranibizumab resulted in mean improvements of 13.9, 11.7, and 10.3 ETDRS letters from baseline, respectively. The 6.0-mg faricimab dose demonstrated a statistically significant gain of 3.6 letters over ranibizumab (P = 0.03). In both patient populations, faricimab resulted in dose-dependent reductions in CST, improvements in DRSS score, and longer time to re-treatment during the observation period compared with ranibizumab. Faricimab showed no new or unexpected safety signals. Conclusions: The BOULEVARD trial met its primary end point; faricimab demonstrated statistically superior visual acuity gains versus ranibizumab at week 24 in treatment-naïve patients. Central subfield thickness reduction, DRSS score improvement, and extended durability outcomes support the primary outcome. These findings suggest the benefit of simultaneous inhibition of angiopoietin-2 and VEGF-A with faricimab for patients with DME.
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