Eli Lilly Alzheimer's drug fails in clinical trial


Miami (AFP)

An experimental drug to fight Alzheimer's disease, called solanezumab, failed in a major clinical trial, the US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly said Wednesday, as experts called the results "disappointing."

"Solanezumab did not meet the primary endpoint in the EXPEDITION 3 clinical trial, a phase 3 study of solanezumab in people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer's disease," said a statement.

Those treated with the drug "did not experience a statistically significant slowing in cognitive decline compared to patients treated with placebo."

Eli Lilly said it will abandon attempts to get regulatory approval for the drug as a treatment for mild dementia.

"The results of the solanezumab EXPEDITION 3 trial were not what we had hoped for and we are disappointed for the millions of people waiting for a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease," said John Lechleiter, the company's chief executive officer.

Eli Lilly had said in July that intermediate results were promising.

"After positive news last summer we had high hopes for this drug to become the first to slow down Alzheimer's disease," said Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society.

"It's extremely disappointing to learn that it hasn't delivered a meaningful change for people living with dementia, when the need is clearly so great."

Alzheimer's Research UK's David Reynolds said it has been nearly 15 years since a drug for Alzheimer's made it to market.

"Sadly, over 99 percent of clinical trials for new Alzheimer's drugs have failed since then," he wrote in a blog post.

"To be successful in clinical trials, new Alzheimer's drugs need to show benefits for memory and thinking that outweigh any effect of a placebo or 'dummy' treatment," he added.

"Sadly, no drug has yet overcome this hurdle and solanezumab has also fallen short."

None of the treatments available have been able to stop dementia.

The World Health Organization says 36 million people worldwide suffer from dementia.

The number of cases is expected to reach more than 65 million by 2030, and triple to 115 million by 2050.