| June 19
June 19 Institutional investors doubt that
treatments for Alzheimer's disease being developed by Pfizer Inc
and Eli Lilly will achieve the main goals of
their ongoing late-stage trials, but hopes are running far
higher for the Pfizer drug, according to a survey by ISI Group
Results from the survey of 146 investors were released late
on Tuesday by Mark Schoenebaum, a pharmaceutical analyst for the
investment research services group. Wall Street is eagerly
awaiting results of the trials and expects huge potential sales
if either of the medicines proves able to arrest the progression
of the memory-robbing disease.
Pfizer and Lilly are expected in the third quarter to
disclose the main findings from large studies of their
respective medicines, bapineuzumab and solanezumab. Complete
data are expected to be presented at medical meetings in the
The survey responders, on average, gave solanezumab only a
14 percent chance of meeting all the primary goals of its two
Phase III studies, compared with an average 21 percent
probability for the two big trials of bapineuzumab, Schoenebaum
Likewise, responders cite an average 15 percent probability
of the Lilly's drug winning approval from the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration sometime in the next two years, compared with 29
percent odds for bapineuzumab.
Lilly only tested solanezumab in 12-week mid-stage trials
before moving it into large Phase III studies. By contrast,
Pfizer's mid-stage trials of bapineuzumab lasted 18 months,
better enabling Pfizer to pick appropriate doses of its medicine
for the far larger Phase III studies.
That potential advantage for the Pfizer drug might account
for some of the greater confidence in bapineuzumab.
Lilly desperately needs revenue from big-selling new drugs
to offset plunging sales of its Zyprexa schizophrenia medicine,
now facing cheaper generics and the approaching collapse of
other top Lilly drugs that will confront generics.
Solanezumab would be just the ticket and some analysts have
forecast that Lilly shares could jump 50 percent, or even
double, if the injectable drug proves safe and effective in the
trials and is approved. Pfizer, which is rebounding from years
of anemic sales and earnings thanks to cost controls and new
medicines, could also be transformed if its Alzheimer's drug
goes the distance.
Should solanezumab fail to show any signs of effectiveness,
however, Lilly shares would likely drop to about $37.40,
according to the average estimate in Schoenebaum's survey. That
would represent a decline of almost 12 percent from Lilly's
closing share price on Tuesday of $42.29.
Pfizer shares, in the event its drug completely fails, would
likely fall to about $21.30, responders said, representing about
a 6 percent decline from their current price.
Alzheimer's disease affects an estimate 5 million Americans
and more than 35 million people worldwide and its incidence is
increasing with the aging population.