Lilly product gets boost; Wall Street yawns

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Eli Lilly and Co. probably will get approval for its newly acquired imaging agent used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, but so far analysts are unimpressed.

On Jan. 20, an advisory panel of outside experts told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that Lilly’s florbetapir should be approved—if Lilly develops and implements a training program to help train medical professionals to read the brain scans that the agent helps produce.

Indianapolis-based Lilly still has to develop such a program, delaying approval of florbetapir. But the unanimous OK from the panel, whose advice the FDA usually follows, is an encouraging sign.

Florbetapir, which Lilly has dubbed Amyvid, binds to the plaques of beta-amyloid proteins found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, dyeing them so they show up on a PET scan. If scans of a florbetapir-dyed brain show nothing, a doctor can rule out Alzheimer’s. If they show a plaque, then a doctor knows to proceed to try to pin down the reason for a patient’s dementia.

The trouble for Lilly, noted stock analysts writing on the Seeking Alpha website, is that even if florbetapir helps doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s patients more quickly and more accurately, there are still no treatment options that reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s. Lilly has one Alzheimer’s drug in late-stage testing, but it had to halt testing of a second drug last year after it actually worsened the disease in patients.

After the FDA panel supported the imaging agent, Lilly's stock price hardly budged, closing that day at $34.75 per share.

Florbetapir’s main use would be to help doctors in clinical trials of experimental Alzheimer’s medicines to more clearly identify patients suffering from the disease—as opposed to other kinds of dementia. Currently, such diagnoses are done by psychiatrists interviewing patients and making a judgment call, not by any quantifiable test of blood or body fluids.

The limited market may explain, according to the Seeking Alpha analysts, why Wall Street isn't giving Lilly much credit for florbetapir in its revenue projections.

But many medical professionals are excited to have an imaging test to firm up their diagnoses of patients with dementia.

“Physicians currently have little confidence in their ability to determine the cause of dementia, and as a result they often don’t even try,” Dr. Norman Foster, a neurologist at the University of Utah, told the FDA panel, according to The New York Times. As a result, he said, families are left in limbo, unable to plan for the future if it is Alzheimer’s and delaying treatment if it is not.

“The preventable costs are enormous,” Foster added. “The emotional toll is incalculable.”


Post a comment to this story

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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?