IBJNews

Lilly finds solace in new Alzheimer's study

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Eli Lilly and Co. suffered a delay in its effort to bring an Alzheimer’s drug to market this month, but it also published new research that the pharmaceutical company thinks confirms it is on the right track.

Indianapolis-based Lilly announced on Dec. 12 that it will conduct another Phase 3 trial of the drug solanezumab to show that the drug slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In October, scientists detailed clinical trial results that showed the drug moderately slowed the decline in mental abilities in patients with mild forms of the memory-sapping disease.

But a week before that announcement, the journal Neuron published a paper by a team of 13 Alzheimer’s researchers at Lilly, which they think proves the science behind solanezumab is sound.

That could be significant because Lilly, which is losing patent protection on its older neuroscience blockbusters Zyprexa and Cymbalta, has staked enormous resources on bringing an Alzheimer’s drug to market. If successful, it could reap billions of dollars per year in sales.

“We learned a lot from solanezumab and that was the key point for how we figured out how to attack this,” said Ron DeMattos, Lilly’s lead biologist on solanezumab and the lead author of the new study.

The Neuron study tested a new drug’s ability to reduce the buildup of plaques in the brain that are a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease and, according to some theories, the cause of its damage.

These plaques are formed by the clumping and tangling of chunks of a brain protein called amyloid-beta. It is produced in every person’s brain but reaches excess levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Removing amyloid or slowing its production are the goals of nearly all the experimental Alzheimer’s drugs being tested now by major pharmaceutical companies. Alzheimer’s disease is getting such attention because there is no effective treatment for it currently and the costs of caring for Alzheimer’s patients are estimated to be $180 billion per year in the United States alone.

Lilly’s scientists designed solanezumab to attach to free-floating pieces of amyloid and carry them out of the brain tissue into the spinal fluid or the bloodstream.

Solanezumab does not attach to amyloid plaques. But Lilly’s scientists reasoned that, as solanezumab reduced the levels of free-floating amyloid that hover around the amyloid plaques like a cloud, more of the amyloid pieces clumped up in plaques would be able to jump off and float away.

In its latest study, Lilly scientists designed a new drug, called mE8, that attaches only to amyloid plaques, but not to the free-floating pieces of amyloid surrounding the plaques.

Lilly’s drug, which is known as mE8, showed a better ability to remove plaque than the mouse version of a competing drug called bapineuzumab. That drug, which was developed by Ireland-based Elan Corp. and tested by New York-based Pfizer Inc. and New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson, failed in a Phase 3 clinical trial this summer. Human studies of the drug were discontinued.

DeMattos attributed the differences to the fact that bapineuzumab attaches to both free-floating amyloid and to amyloid plaques. Much of the drug appears to have become clustered with free-floating amyloid before it could ever reach amyloid plaques in most parts of the brain.

He also noted that Lilly’s drug mE8 showed no bleeding in the brain, called microhemorrhaging. The mouse version of bapineuzumab did show some bleeding in mice brains.

“We’re really enthusiastic about this approach,” DeMattos said, noting that a humanized version of mE8 drug would be the next Alzheimer’s drug Lilly moves into clinical trials. In addition to solanezumab, Lilly already has one other drug in human trials.

DeMattos said it is likely that Alzheimer’s will be successfully treated through a combination of drugs, rather than just one. However, he said Lilly would need to thoroughly study both solanezumab and mE8 separately before it considers whether they could be used as a combination therapy.

“This has become a very hot topic among the academic clinicians,” DeMattos said of a combination therapy. “Lilly is uniquely positioned in that we have an antibody that targets the soluble [amyloid] beta and we have an antibody that targets the plaques specifically.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT