Eli Lilly shares drop as Alzheimer’s drug fails

Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment failed to slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease, yet another setback to drugmakers and researchers who continue to seek a way to treat one of the most feared ailments in the world. The shares fell as much as 14%.

Eli Lilly shares drop as Alzheimer’s drug fails

Patients treated with solanezumab didn’t show a meaningful slowing of cognitive decline compared with those who got a placebo, Lilly said. The drugmaker said it hasn’t decided what next steps, if any, to take with the medicine.

The results of the trial “were not what we had hoped for and we are disappointed for the millions of people waiting for a potential disease-modifying treatment,” said John Lechleiter, Lilly’s outgoing CEO.

“We will evaluate the impact of these results on the development plans for solanezumab and our other Alzheimer’s pipeline assets.”

The findings are the latest setback in the quest to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 45m people worldwide. More than 100 compounds have failed to show they could slow the condition.

Trial Failure Lilly will take a $150m (€141m) pretax charge, related to the trial. The company said it’s still committed to Alzheimer’s, and that it has other compounds it is studying.

Results from the large, final-stage clinical trial showed that patients with mild Alzheimer’s who took solanezumab didn’t respond better than patients given a placebo on tests of memory and mental function, the Indianapolis-based company said.

The drug is designed to latch onto and isolate soluble forms of beta amyloid, the protein that experts believe turns toxic.

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