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The Wall Street Journal: Alzheimer’s drug from Eisai, Biogen shows promise in large trial

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Eisai Co.
4523,
+0.89%

and Biogen Inc.
BIIB,
+1.04%

said their experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug significantly slowed progression of the memory-robbing disease in a large study, bolstering the drug’s prospects for approval.

The pharmaceutical companies said their drug lecanemab reduced cognitive and functional decline by 27%, compared with a placebo, over 18 months in a Phase 3 study of 1,800 patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s. The drug was also linked to higher rates of brain swelling and small bleeds, though the company said they were rarely symptomatic.

“Today’s announcement gives patients and their families hope that lecanemab, if approved, can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide a clinically meaningful impact on cognition and function,” said Biogen Chief Executive Michel Vounatsos.

The trial data were disclosed by Japan’s Eisai in a press release, and haven’t been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. The company said it would present more detailed study results in November at an Alzheimer’s research conference and publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal.

“These data are compelling,” said Richard S. Isaacson, director of the Center for Brain Health at Florida Atlantic University, though he said he wants to review the full trial results once they are published. “But in the right patient population at the right time and the right dose, this is a treatment that will probably become a part of the standard of care for patients.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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