Lilly says Alzheimer’s drug slows decline in Phase 2 trial

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly on Monday announced positive findings for its drug in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

The investigational antibody therapy, donanemab, slowed cognitive decline by a statistically significant 32% compared to a placebo, Lilly said. The drug met a main objective to slow decline in about 18 months.

Donanemab works by targeting a so-called N3pG beta amyloid to quickly clear amyloid plaques in the brain, which otherwise disrupt cell function, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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The randomized, double-blind study involved a sample of 272 patients, selected based on cognitive tests and brain imaging. The patients had early, symptomatic courses of the disease, the company said.

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Patients stopped receiving the drug once imaging showed their amyloid plaques dropped to healthy levels. Lilly says the plaque clearance mechanism is durable, and the company plans to replicate the findings in a second trial with an estimated 500 participants.

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Lilly’s announcement on Monday stemmed from a Phase 2 “Trailblazer-Alz” trial, with results submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

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