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If you flip to the 1,031st page of the May 1998 edition of the Journal of Cell Biology, you’ll find the first scientific byline for Daniel Skovronsky, then a young trainee at the University of Pennsylvania, on an article describing how beta-amyloid, a vexing molecule thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, was more complicated than the field understood.

“I’ve been pursuing the same enemy for 25 years,” Skovronsky, now head of research at Eli Lilly, said at the STAT Breakthrough Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.


Skovronsky and his employer, which has spent decades trying and failing to treat Alzheimer’s, notched a victory against that mutual enemy this week. Donanemab, Lilly’s amyloid-targeting therapy, met its goals in a pivotal trial, slowing the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s relative to placebo in a study that will likely lead to Food and Drug Administration approval.

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