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. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.