Healthcare Economy

Pfizer’s Alzheimer’s Drug Fails Trial

A new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and partner Elan Corp. plc (NYSE: ELN) has failed a late-stage trial in patients with mild-to-moderate cases of the disease and who are carriers of a specific gene mutation. Results of a second trial on patients who are not carriers of the mutant gene are due later this summer, and the companies are hoping for better results.

The new drug, called bapineuzumab, is the subject of four trials, two in North America and two outside North America. The study reported on last night included 1,100 patients in North America, while the second North American study includes 1,300 patients who do not carry the mutated gene.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) is also working on a treatment for Alzheimer’s, but the Pfizer/Elan drug is farther along in development. Current treatments for Alzheimer’s treat only the symptoms of the disease. The new drugs are attempting to discover therapies that will actually attack the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s. The market for a successful treatment could be as much as $10 billion.

Pfizer’s share price is down about 0.9% in the premarket at $23.39, in a 52-week range of $16.63 to $23.87.

Elan’s shares are off 17% in premarket trading at $11.21, in a 52-week range of $8.58 to $15.27.

Lilly’s stock is down 1.6% at $43.15, in a 52-week range of $33.75 to $44.67.

Paul Ausick

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