Eli Lilly and Company Aims Alzheimer's Treatment at Early Stage Patients

Published: Jul 12, 2013

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Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) said it will test its experimental Alzheimer’s drug that last year failed a trial in moderate forms of the dementia in a new study of patients in earlier stages of the disease. The trial of 2,100 patients, called Expedition III, will use new measures of cognitive function, such as the ability to do tasks like cooking or driving, or remembering words after a delay. It’s meant as a more-targeted, more-sensitive trial than two earlier ones that had a wider range of patients, said Eric Siemers, a senior medical director at Indianapolis-based Lilly. Lilly is pushing ahead with the drug, called solanezumab, in an effort to gain the first medicine approved that treats Alzheimer’s causes rather than just the symptoms. The therapy targets the buildup of plaque known as beta amyloid in the brain that’s thought to be a basis of Alzheimer’s. Clearing or preventing it may help slow or halt progression of the disease, though that theory hasn’t been proven.

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