Oct 10 Experimental drugs from Roche Holding AG
and Eli Lilly & Co have been selected for a
global Alzheimer's disease prevention trial, and a second Lilly
drug is being considered for inclusion in the study, Washington
University said on Wednesday.
The trial, expected to begin in early 2013, will enroll 160
patients with inherited gene mutations that typically lead to
Alzheimer's disease at a young age, the St. Louis university
said on Wednesday.
The drugs chosen for the study are Roche's gantenerumab and
Lilly's solanezumab. Under consideration is an experimental
Lilly drug called a beta-secretase inhibitor.
Researchers in August said solanezumab failed to prevent
decline in cognitive and physical function among patients with
mild to moderate Alzheimer's in two large late-stage studies.
But hopes for the drug were revived a bit on Monday when
Lilly said an analysis of pooled data from the two studies
showed solanezumab led to a 34 percent reduction in memory
decline for patients with mild symptoms over a period of 18
months. It said the change was statistically significant.
Solanezumab, a monoclonal antibody, attacks beta amyloid, a
protein that forms plaques in the brain that many scientists
believe are a main cause of the progressive memory-robbing
Some industry analysts expect Lilly to seek marketing
approval of solanezumab based on the mixed trial data, but
others say the Indianapolis drugmaker would have to complete a
large costly new trial among patients with mild symptoms to win
Shares of Lilly, up more than 7 percent since the pooled
data were unveiled on Monday, were down 1.6 percent in morning
trading. Shares of Roche were 1 percent lower amid a moderate
decline in the ARCA Pharmaceutical Index of large U.S.
and European drugmakers.
Washington University, in a press release, said the Lilly
beta-secretase inhibitor, now being tested by the company in
mid-stage studies, is designed to reduce the amount of beta
amyloid proteins produced by the body, thereby slowing the
accumulation of brain plaques.