by Rod D. Martin
March 26, 2015
A Biogen Idec Inc. drug that targets plaque buildup in the brain slowed cognitive decline in patients with early and mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease in a small, early-stage study, lifting the company’s stock to all-time highs and adding to the debate on how to treat the debilitating disease.
While the drug itself is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, it shows great promise for people who do suffer from the disease.
The treatment still requires larger and longer drug trials, and may not be suitable for all patients. However, the results excited observers because of the consistency of the drug’s effects, which increased with higher doses. Analysts also were encouraged by brain imaging scans showing plaque reductions that corresponded to clinical improvements.
The trial has thus far been encouraging, and indeed shows a scientifically significant reduction in decline.
The drug’s effects on cognitive function were included as “exploratory” study endpoints, the company said.
Using the Mini Mental State Examination, or MMSE, patients receiving the largest dose of aducanumab worsened on average by 0.58 points, or 2.56 points fewer than the 3.14-point decline among placebo patients, a statistically significant advantage, the company said. Baird’s Mr. Raymond had said that a difference greater than one to two points between aducanumab and the placebo would be “meaningful.”
We’ll continue to keep readers informed about advancements in biotech.