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Eli Lilly Alzheimer's drug shows promise in clinical trials

Company pleased with positive findings
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jan 11, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company Monday reported promising results from clinical trials of an Alzheimer's drug.

In what the company described as a "small trial," patients with early Alzheimer's showed significant improvement when taking the experimental drug Donanemab.

"We are extremely pleased about these positive findings for Donanemab as a potential therapy for people living with Alzheimer's disease, the only leading cause of death without a treatment that slows disease progression," said Dr. Mark Mintun, Lilly vice president of pain and neurodegeneration.

"With more than 30 years of dedication to finding solutions for this devastating disease, we are proud of our progress moving the field forward and advancing the science. These positive results give us hope for patients and their families," said Mintun.

The trials show Donanemab is able to clear plaque from Alzheimer's patients. "This unique mechanism and antibody for clearing plaques, discovered at Lilly, has the potential to provide high levels of durable amyloid plaque clearance after limited duration dosing," said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.

"In conjunction with our expertise in amyloid and tau imaging, this allowed us to conduct a trial to test if reducing amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's patients to levels seen in scans of healthy individuals could result in clinically meaningful slowing of cognitive decline. The positive results we have obtained today give us confidence in Donanemab and support its rapid and deep plaque clearance for the potential treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Skovronsky.

The trials involved 272 patients. The full results of the study will be presented at a future medical congress and submitted for publication in a clinical journal.

According to Lilly, dementia due to Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. There are currently over 50 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers expected to increase to nearly 152 million by 2050.