Monday, August 27, 2012

Once-Promising AD Drug Joins Growing List of Disappointments

Eli Lilly and Company had high hopes for solanezumab, a drug developed to destroy beta-amyloid plaques that characterize the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. But on August 24 the company announced that its clinical trials in more than 2,000 people in 16 countries showed that the drug was unable to halt the disease's progress on measures of cognition and functionality. Lilly's announcement follows by less than a month the failure of a similar drug being developed by Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson.

Lilly President and CEO John Lechleiter, Ph.D., indicated in a press release that there was some hopeful news in the pooled data from two phase 3 clinical trials, since in subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer's taking the drug, there was evidence of "statistically significant slowing of cognitive decline. He said, "We recognize that the solanezumab studies did not meet their primary endpoints, but we are encouraged by the pooled data that appear to show a slowing of cognitive decline. We intend to discuss these data with regulatory authorities to gain their insights on potential next steps." An open-label extension study is continuing. Apparently investors interpreted this news as encouraging because Lilly's stock registered a sizable gain the day of the announcement.

To read more about the latest developments in Alzheimer's research, see Psychiatric News here and here. Also see Clinical Manual of Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(image: Andrea Danti/


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