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Pharma Flop: Eli Lilly's Alzheimer Cure Fails Drug Trials

Nov 29, 2016 04:50 AM EST

Eli Lilly and Co.'s promising pharmaceutical drug for memory-fading disease, Alzheimer's, has failed its large clinical trial. According to the company's official statement, patients treated with solanezumab did not experience a statistically significant slowing in cognitive decline compared to patients treated with placebo.

Its Phase III clinical trial, dubbed the Expedition 3, had over 2,100 patients clinically diagnosed with mild dementia due to Alzheimer's.  The said trial was launched back in 2013.

Prior to this, they did two original 18-month studies that finished in 2012. In each trial, its Alzheimer's drug solanezumab did not succeed in slowing down cognitive decline or loss of abilities of daily living in 1,000 patients with mild to moderate disease.

But according to researchers, the combined data for just the mildly affected patients suggested solanezumab caused significant slowdowns of 34 percent in mental decline and 18 percent in loss of functional abilities, compared with those taking a placebo, Fortune reports.

In an article by CNN, Lilly's Chairman, President, and CEO John C. Lechleiter said in a statement that the company was "disappointed for the millions of people waiting for a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease." Lechleiter also added that the results would be assessed to determine the effect on other potential Alzheimer's drugs the company is working on. The company, however, would no longer pursue U.S. approval of the drug for mild dementia.

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The disease wreaks havoc on a person's memory and other cognitive and intellectual abilities. A report by Alzheimer's Disease International states that at least 47 million people with dementia are living in the world today, going further as to predict that it will double every 20 years, reaching 131 million people in 2050.

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