Failure Of Lilly Drug Is Latest Alzheimer's Setback | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Failure Of Lilly Drug Is Latest Alzheimer's Setback

An experimental drug that aimed to slow the development of plaques and help clear them from the brains of Alzheimer's patients failed in two late-stage studies conducted by Eli Lilly & Co., the company said today.

It's another setback in a field marked by failure. Earlier this month, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson said they were dropping development of a similar experimental drug after big clinical studies showed it wasn't working. And two years ago, Lilly announced another Alzheimer's drug flunked late-stage clinical tests.

The latest disappointment involved Lilly's solanezumab, a drug given by IV every four weeks. The studies, involving more than 2,000 patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, lasted a year and a half.

Patients who got the drug instead of a placebo were no better off on tests of memory and thinking. The same was true about tests on tasks of daily life.

After combining the results from both trials, Lilly said it found some reason to think there might be an effect from treatment for some patients.

"We recognize that the solanezumab studies did not meet their primary endpoints, but we are encouraged by the pooled data that appear to show a slowing of cognitive decline," said a statement from John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly's chairman and CEO.

While acknowledging the disappointing outcome, the Alzheimer's Association said in a statement that the pooled data contained "new and encouraging information."

But the pooling of data by Lilly also drew skeptical responses. Sally Church, a drug industry consultant, tweeted that it's "truly despair" when drugmakers "raise unnecessary hope/hype for [patients] when they have a clearly failed trial."

Pieter Droppert, a colleague of Church's, rounded up some of the on-the-fly analysis, including comments from John LaMattina, formerly head of research at Pfizer, and Derek Lowe, a drug industry and science blogger. The upshot was negative.

Lilly plans to talk with regulators about what to do next. More details on the results, which were sparse today, will be presented at medical meetings in October.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Why Are Theater Tickets Cheaper On The West End Than On Broadway?

In London, a matinee ticket for Matilda costs about $60; in New York, it's $137. What's going on? The West End has weaker unions and subsidized theater, while Broadway has amenities.
NPR

Why Your 'Small-Batch' Whiskey Might Taste A Lot Like The Others

A food blogger says dozens of distilleries are buying rye whiskey from a factory in Indiana and using it in bottles labeled "artisan."
NPR

House Approves $16 Billion Plan To Improve Health Care For Vets

The Senate is expected to pass the measure this week. It would expand government programs and provide funds for vets who are unable to access VA services to see private doctors.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.