Lilly Straps on Barrel, Jumps Into Niagara River
Upstream, that is.
Today Eli Lilly announced that is plunging ahead with further development of solanezumab in Alzheimer disease, despite the drug’s tepid performance in 2 previous phase 3 trials (EXPEDITION 1 and 2). No matter. EXPEDITION 3 (as the new trial is aptly, if fatefully, named) will enrich for patients who have mild disease and demonstrable evidence of brain amyloid (via PET imaging with Lilly’s amyloid tracer, Amyvid). The precarious reasons: EXPEDITION 1 and 2 hinted at a possible benefit of solanezumab in patients with milder AD. And a substantial percentage of enrollees did not demonstrate an abnormal accumulation of brain amyloid, which solanezumab is designed to target.
As everyone recalls, Pfizer/Janssen proceeded with a similar phase 3 plan to assess the anti-amyloid compound bapineuzumab, despite disappointing phase 2 results. And we know how that turned out.
Photograph of Carlisle Graham, first to go through the Whirlpool Rapids in a barrel, c1886. From the Niagara Falls Heritage Foundation Collection.