June 11, 2008 / 4:20 PM / in 9 years

Elan says trial of Alzheimer's vaccine restarted

NEW YORK, June 11 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Irish drugmaker Elan Corp ELN.IELN.N said on Wednesday a mid-stage trial of the company’s vaccine to treat Alzheimer’s disease has resumed following a six-week suspension prompted by safety concerns.

“Last week dosing was restarted,” Elan CEO Kelly Martin told analysts and money managers at the Goldman Sachs annual Global Healthcare Conference being held in Dana Point, California. He said the study, which had been suspended in mid-April, was “back on track.”

The vaccine is designed to stimulate the immune system to block production of A-beta peptide, a component of the amyloid plaque that is believe to form tangles in the brain that cause Alzheimer‘s.

The suspension was meant to allow Elan and partner Wyeth WYE.N to examine a potentially serious side effect suffered by one patient in the mid-stage trial. The patient was hospitalized with skin lesions that a lead researcher suspected was a case of vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels.

Elan and Wyeth are also co-developing another Alzheimer’s drug, called AAB-001, that is farther along in testing and is considered by many analysts to be the most promising product in development against the degenerative brain disease. The compound recently began late-stage trials. (Reporting by Ransdell Pierson)

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