Lilly’s Alzheimer’s disease drug fails to meet expectations

Eli Lilly and Company has announced that solanezumab did not meet the primary endpoint in the EXPEDITION3 clinical trial, a phase 3 study of solanezumab in people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

elilillyEli Lilly said that patients treated with solanezumab did not experience a statistically significant slowing in cognitive decline compared to patients treated with placebo (p=.095), as measured by the ADAS-Cog14 (Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale).

While the study results, including many secondary clinical endpoints, directionally favored solanezumab, the magnitudes of treatment differences were small. There were no new safety signals identified in the study. Lilly will not pursue regulatory submissions for solanezumab for the treatment of mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

“The results of the solanezumab EXPEDITION3 trial were not what we had hoped for and we are disappointed for the millions of people waiting for a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president and chief executive officer, Lilly. “We will evaluate the impact of these results on the development plans for solanezumab and our other Alzheimer’s pipeline assets.”

Lilly said that it will work with investigators to appropriately conclude the open-label extensions for EXPEDITION, EXPEDITION2 and EXPEDITION3. The next steps for the remaining elements of the solanezumab development program have not yet been determined.

“Lilly is grateful for the dedication of the patients, their families, and the clinical investigators who participated in this study,” said Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., executive vice president of science and technology and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “Lilly remains committed to Alzheimer’s research as we have been for nearly 30 years, and our portfolio includes many other promising approaches.”

“Lilly has strong growth prospects without solanezumab,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly’s incoming chief executive officer and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines. “Driven by new product launches, we continue to expect to grow average annual revenue by at least 5 percent between 2015 and 2020. Over that time frame, we also expect to increase our margins and provide annual dividend increases to our shareholders.”

The EXPEDITION3 study outcome is expected to result in a fourth-quarter charge of approximately $150 million (pre-tax), or approximately $0.09 per share (after-tax). The company will provide updated 2016 financial guidance and announce its 2017 financial guidance on December 15, 2016 and will also conduct a conference call with the investment community and media at 9:00 a.m. ET on that date, instead of on the originally-scheduled date of January 4, 2017, Lilly concluded.

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