Biogen to take anti-amyloid drug to late stage trial

Cambridge, Mass., based biomedical company Biogen Idec announced encouraging results of a phase II drug targeting amyloid in Alzheimer’s patients at a Deutsche Bank conference in Boston today.

Stock in the company has risen substantially in response to the news, according to reports from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets. The identified trial is still an early-stage study evaluating Biogen’s BIIB037, but the company is seeking to move forward to a phase III trial, Biogen executive vice president of research and development Doug Williams reportedly remarked in his conference address.

This marks a major triumph in the race to bring a viable Alzheimer’s treatment to market, as previous anti-amyloid drugs, such as solanezumab (Eli Lilly) and bapineuzumab (Pfizer et al), have faltered in the early stages of research due to weak results. Lilly is still in the running with solanezumab, but the drug targets a different form of the peptide from BIIB037, which could bring about different trial results, wrote Robyn Karnauskas, a Deutsche Bank analyst presenting at the conference, according to this Bloomberg report.

BIIB037 improved cognition in Alzheimer’s subjects 54 weeks after outset of therapy, according to an interim analysis of 200 subjects in the phase I trial. Final results of the trial will be released next year and Biogen hopes to have data from a late-stage trial in 2017 or 2018.