Alzheimer's Drug Slowed Disease's Progression In Study, Drugmakers Say

Pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Biogen said they plan to publish the findings in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

An Alzheimer’s drug significantly slowed the disease’s progression in a large-scale trial, pharmaceutical companies Eisai and Biogen announced on Tuesday.

The study found that the drug, lecanemab, slowed cognitive and functional decline by 27% among participants over a period of 18 months compared with those who took a placebo, the companies said in a press release.

The study included roughly 1,800 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

The drug is based on the “beta-amyloid hypothesis,” Barron’s reported, “which is the foundation for several other drugs also targeting the disease.”

The companies said they applied for accelerated approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July and expect a decision in early January.

They plan to publish the findings in a peer-reviewed medical journal as well.

“Today’s announcement gives patients and their families hope that lecanemab, if approved, can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide a clinically meaningful impact on cognition and function,” Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos said in the release.

The drug’s reported effects mark a “rare win,” Reuters noted, following several failed trials to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings follow the FDA’s approval last year of Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, also developed by Biogen and Eisai. Its approval, which was based on two studies with mixed results, was controversial, according to USA Today.

Three FDA advisers resigned over the approval. Medicare limited the drug’s use in early 2022; the drugmaker has since reduced its cost — $56,000 in 2021 — by half, according to PBS News.

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