Eli Lilly is nearing the readout from a pivotal study of its experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The approval of a similar medicine earlier this year has wrung risk from the outcome, but for the same reason, expectations for strong results are higher.
The Lilly drug, called donanemab, is an antibody that targets accumulated plaques in the brain called amyloid. For two decades, efforts to slow the mental decline of people with Alzheimer’s with drugs that clear these toxic plaques from the brain delivered little but frustration. But in 2022 an antibody called lecanemab, developed by the Japanese drugmaker Eisai, succeeded in moderately slowing cognitive decline.
When the Eisai drug, now called Leqembi, was approved in January, it propelled the treatment of Alzheimer’s forward, offering at least some hope to millions of people living with the neurodegenerative disease.
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