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Doubling Down on Amyloid in Alzheimers
  By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: December 16, 2012
A second drug giant is betting big on beta-amyloid as a therapeutic target in symptomatic Alzheimer's disease. Also this week: a comprehensive report card on global health.
Another Big Bet on Anti-Amyloid AD Drugs
The drug giant Eli Lilly indicated that it would double down on beta-amyloid protein as a drug target in Alzheimer's disease.
It announced that it would conduct a new phase III trial of its anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody drug solanezumab in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, after two previous trials in patients with mild to moderate symptoms failed to demonstrate a statistically significant benefit.
But Lilly was encouraged by a post hoc analysis of the two EXPEDITION trials, focusing on patients with mild disease, which indicated that the treatment significantly slowed the rate of cognitive decline compared with the placebo groups.
The company said it would begin the new study no later than the third quarter of 2013. In the meantime, it will hold off on submitting a Biologics License Application to the FDA for solanezumab.
The drug binds to single-stranded forms of beta-amyloid protein, allowing them to be cleared by normal body processes before they form insoluble polymeric plaques.
Lilly's announcement followed one by Merck that it would conduct a large trial of another anti-amyloid drug intended to prevent beta-amyloid proteins from being produced in the first place.
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