Promising Alzheimer’s Drug Moves Into Late-Stage Development

The latest promising Alzheimer’s disease drug trial is causing a burst of excitement for Biogen Idec Inc. investors. It may be too early to celebrate.

Other Alzheimer’s drugs that later failed in larger, more comprehensive effectiveness tests showed the same sort of initial promise as Biogen’s, say neurologists. The biotechnology company said this week that it would move the drug, BIIB037, into a final-stage trial based on positive Phase 1 data.

The trial of fewer than 200 patients showed the drug removed a protein fragment that causes plaques in the brain that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. Patients also did better on cognitive tests, Doug Williams, Biogen’s head of research and development, said at a Deutsche Bank conference this week.

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