Biogen Alzheimer's Drug Aducanumab Exceeds Expectations
March 20, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Massachusetts-based Biogen Idec revealed the results of a Phase Ib study today that looked at aducanumab as a form of treatment for prodromal or mild Alzheimer’s disease. The data showed that the drug, also known as BIIB037, could reduce amyloid plaque in the brain, which is thought to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Biogen Idec’s stock is now up 4 percent since closing on March 19.
The results from the study, also referred to as PRIME, will be presented at the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders in Nice, France. PRIME is an ongoing Phase Ib randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multiple-dose study designed to look at the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of aducanumab in patients with the disease.
A total of 166 patients participated in the 54-week-long study. At Week 54, the group of patients who had received aducanumab saw a significant reduction in amyloid plaque.
“This is the first time an investigational drug for Alzheimer’s disease has demonstrated a statistically significant reduction on amyloid plaque as well as a statistically significant slowing of clinical impairment in patients with prodromal or mild disease,” said Alfred Sandrock, group senior vice president and chief medical officer at Biogen Idec.
The Progression of BIIB037
BIIB037 is currently making headlines in the Alzheimer’s disease research community, but it had been a priority for Biogen Idec for months.
In March 2014, the company announced a deal with Tokyo-based Eisai Company, Ltd. to advance Eisai's Alzheimer’s disease candidates, E2609 and BAN2401. However, the collaboration also allowed Eisai to help develop BIIB037. At the time, BIIB037 was being investigated as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
In December 2014, Biogen Idec revealed positive interim data from a Phase Ib trial of BIIB037, showing that there was a reduction in beta amyloid plaque. Approximately three months later, the company has now released data that confirms that aducanumab can safely and effectively eliminate plaque build-up.
“Based on these results, we are advancing the aducanumab clinical program to Phase III with plans to initiate enrollment later this year,” Sandrock continued.
As of 2010, approximately 25 million people are estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s disease around the world.
BioSpace Temperature Poll
After Amgen Inc. said last week that it will close its South San Francisco facility acquired during its $10 billion buyout of Onyx Pharmaceuticals and will lay off 300 of Oynx’s 750 workers, BioSpace is wondering—will the number of mergers and acquisitions completed in 2014 mean a “streamlining” of biotech jobs in the Bay Area? Tell us your thoughts.