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Promise of new Alzheimer’s drug is dashed after lack of evidence

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6362 (Published 24 November 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6362
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The hope that a failed Alzheimer drug, solanezumab, might prove effective in patients with mild disease has proved misplaced after a phase III trial in this group of patients produced no significant benefits.

The trial was the last throw of the dice for Eli Lilly in its pursuit of a blockbuster drug for Alzheimer’s disease. Solanezumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting amyloid plaques, the pathological signature of the disease, had failed an earlier phase III trial in 2012. But close examination of the results suggested that while it did not reverse the disease, it may have slowed its progress.1

People given the drug earlier declined at a similar rate to those given it later, but a gap persisted between the …

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