Topical Solution for Retinal Delivery: Bevacizumab and Ranibizumab Eye Drops in Anti-Aggregation Formula (AAF) in Rabbits

Steven A. Giannos, Edward R. Kraft, Jonathan D. Luisi, Mary E. Schmitz-Brown, Valentina Reffatto, Kevin H. Merkley, Praveena K. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a blinding retinal disease. Monthly intravitreal anti-VEGF antibody injections of bevacizumab (off-label) and ranibizumab (FDA approved) are the standard of care. Antibody aggregation may interfere with ocular absorption/distribution. This study assessed topical delivery of dilute antibodies to the posterior segment of rabbit eyes using a novel anti-aggregation formula (AAF). Methods: Bevacizumab, or biosimilar ranibizumab was diluted to 5 mg/ml in AAF. All rabbits were dosed twice daily. Substudy 1 rabbits (bevacizumab, 100 µl eye drops): Group 1 (bevacizumab/AAF, n = 6); Group 2 (bevacizumab/PBS, n = 7) and Vehicle control (AAF, n = 1). Substudy 2 rabbits (ranibizumab biosimilar/AAF, 50 µl eye drops): (ranibizumab biosimilar/AAF, n = 8). At 14.5 days, serum was drawn from rabbits. Aqueous, vitreous and retina samples were recovered from eyes and placed into AAF aliquots. Tissue analyzed using AAF as diluent. Results: Bevacizumab in AAF permeated/accumulated in rabbit aqueous, vitreous and retina 10 times more, than when diluted in PBS. AAF/0.1% hyaluronic acid eye drops, dosed twice daily, provided mean tissue concentrations (ng/g) in retina (29.50), aqueous (12.34), vitreous (3.46), and serum (0.28 ng/ml). Additionally, the highest concentration (ng/g) of ranibizumab biosimilar was present in the retina (18.0), followed by aqueous (7.82) and vitreous (1.47). Serum concentration was negligible (< 0.04 ng/ml). No irritation was observed throughout the studies. Conclusions: Bevacizumab and ranibizumab, in an AAF diluent eye drop, can be delivered to the retina, by the twice daily dosing of a low concentration mAb formulation. This may prove to be an adjunct to intravitreal injections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1256
Number of pages10
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • anti-VEGF
  • antibody
  • macular degeneration
  • neovascularization
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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