Alzheimer’s drug shows promise in early study results – WSB-TV Channel 2


Shares of Biogen and other drugmakers researching Alzheimer’s disease soared on Wednesday after Japan’s Eisai Co. said its potential treatment appeared to slow the deadly disease in a late-stage study.

The drugmaker said early results showed its treatment, lecanemab, reduced patients’ clinical decline by 27% compared to a placebo or fake drug after 18 months of infused therapy.

Eisai announced Tuesday evening the results of a global study of nearly 1,800 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients were tracked using a scale that measures mental decline and their ability to perform daily activities like dressing or eating.

Eisai Co.Ltd. said he would discuss the full research results at a conference in late November. He also plans to publish the results in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The company is already seeking fast-track approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, and the agency is expected to make a decision early next year. Eisai and Biogen will co-promote the drug.

Researchers generally advise caution in evaluating a study until full results are published. But early results appear to be “quite robust” and will likely support regulatory approval, Mizuho Securities analyst Graig Suvannavejh said in a research note.

A statement from the Alzheimer’s Association called the results the most encouraging yet for potential treatments for the underlying causes of the disease.

Some 6 million people in the United States and many more around the world have Alzheimer’s disease, which gradually attacks areas of the brain needed for memory, reasoning, communication and basic daily tasks. .

Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure. Long-standing treatments on the market only manage symptoms, and researchers don’t fully understand what causes the condition.

Last year, Biogen’s Aduhelm became the first new Alzheimer’s drug introduced in nearly two decades. But it largely failed after debuting with a price tag of $56,000 per year, which Biogen later reduced.

Doctors have been hesitant to prescribe it, given weak evidence that the drug slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Insurers blocked or restricted coverage due to concerns about the drug’s high price and uncertain benefits.

Earlier this year, the federal Medicare program imposed strict limits on who can get the drug, wiping out most of its potential market in the United States. Biogen subsequently announced that it would halt most of its spending on the treatment.

Like Aduhelm, canemab, developed by Eisai, aims to remove a protein called beta-amyloid from the brain.

The protein forms plaque that researchers say contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. They also point to other potential factors such as family history and chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Eisai executives say lecanemab focuses more on the floating clumps of the protein before it forms plaque, which Aduhelm targets.

Eli Lilly and Co. is also developing a potential treatment, donanemab, which targets the protein.

Shares of Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Inc. jumped 40% to close Wednesday at $276.61. The title had dropped significantly since Aduhelm’s debut last year.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. rose 7.5%.


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