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Alzheimer’s drug shows promise in early results of study

by News Desk
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Tom Murphy, Associated Press

Published on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 9:26 AM EDT

Shares of Biogen and other pharmaceutical companies researching Alzheimer’s disease surged early Wednesday.

Eisai announced late Tuesday the results of a global study of about 1,800 people with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Early results showed that its treatment, lecanemab, reduced clinical decline in patients by 27 percent compared to placebo or placebo after 18 months of infusion therapy, according to the pharmaceutical company. were monitored using scales that measure behavior in areas such as , problem-solving, and personal care.

Eisai Co. said it will discuss the full results of the study at a meeting in late November. We plan to publish the results in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The company has already sought expedited approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to make a decision by early next year.Eisai and Biogen will co-promote the drug.

Mizuho Securities analyst Greig Svannave said in a research note that early results were “very strong” and likely support regulatory approval.

A statement from the Alzheimer’s Association said the findings are the most encouraging to date as a potential treatment for the underlying cause of the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disease with no known cure. Years of treatments on the market only manage symptoms, and researchers don’t fully understand what causes the disease.

Last year, Biogen’s Aduhelm became the first new Alzheimer’s drug introduced in almost 20 years. But it largely flopped after it debuted with a $56,000 annual price tag, which Biogen later cut.

Doctors have been hesitant to prescribe the drug because of weak evidence that it slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Insurance companies have blocked or limited coverage over the drug’s high price tag and uncertain profits.

Like Aduhelm, lecanemab, developed by Eisai and undergoing clinical trials, seeks to remove a protein called beta-amyloid from the brain.

But Eisai executives say lecanemab focuses on floating protein clumps before forming the plaques that Aduhelm targets.

Eli Lilly and Co. is also developing a treatment, donanemab, that may help remove proteins.

Shares of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen surged more than 50% in pre-market trading Wednesday morning to above $300. Since Aduhelm’s debut last year, the stock has fallen significantly.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. rose 8%.

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