Sunday 19 November 2017

Two firms chosen for Alzheimer's trial

The drugs chosen for the study are Roche's gantenerumab and Lilly's solanezumab. Photo: Thinkstock
The drugs chosen for the study are Roche's gantenerumab and Lilly's solanezumab. Photo: Thinkstock

Ransdell Pierson

Experimental drugs from Roche and Eli Lilly, two companies that employ over 1,000 people in Ireland, 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 has said.

The trial, expected to begin early next year, will enroll 160 patients with inherited gene mutations that typically lead to Alzheimer's disease at a young age, the St Louis-based university said.

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 when Lilly said an analysis of pooled data from the two studies showed solanezumab led to a 34pc 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 disease.

Some industry analysts expect Lilly to seek marketing approval of solanezumab based on the mixed trial data, but others say the Indianapolis-based drugmaker would have to complete a large, costly new trial among patients with mild symptoms to win approval. (Bloomberg)

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