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SAN FRANCISCO — A closely watched new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease held up to scrutiny in a detailed scientific presentation Tuesday, as its developers, partners Eisai and Biogen, begin the lengthy process of turning this medicine into what they hope could be a groundbreaking therapy.

The drug, lecanemab, slowed the cognitive and functional decline of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s by 27% relative to placebo in a roughly 2,000-volunteer clinical trial. In the 18-month study, Eisai’s drug also dramatically reduced patients’ levels of beta-amyloid, a toxic protein in the brain thought to drive the advance of Alzheimer’s, and the drug showed statistically significant benefits on three backup measures of cognition and function.

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