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Eli Lilly Surges On Positive Data From Key Trial of Alzheimer's Treatment

Eli Lilly said a phase 2 trial of its donanemab treatment showed a "significant slowing of decline" in the impact of cognitive and daily function impacts from Alzheimer's disease.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report shares surged the most in six months Monday after the drugmaker said its developing Alzheimer's treatment slowed the impact of the degenerative brain disorder in mid-stage clinical trials. 

Eli Lilly said that donanemab, an investigational antibody, showed a "significant slowing of decline" in a composite measure of cognition and daily function in trial patients suffering early symptomatic Alzheimer's disease. The 32% decline rate, compared to placebo, was 'statistically significant', Eli Lilly said, and met the primary endpoint of the phase 2 'Trailblazer' ALZ study. 

Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder, affects more than 50 million people around the world. To date, no drug has been found to address the disease, which can accelerate into dementia and other more serious cognitive conditions. 

"This unique mechanism and antibody for clearing plaques, discovered at Lilly, has the potential to provide high levels of durable amyloid plaque clearance after limited duration dosing," said Eli Lilly's chief scientific office Daniel Skovronsky. "In conjunction with our expertise in amyloid and tau imaging, this allowed us to conduct a trial to test if reducing amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's patients to levels seen in scans of healthy individuals could result in clinically meaningful slowing of cognitive decline."

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"The positive results we have obtained today give us confidence in donanemab and support its rapid and deep plaque clearance for the potential treatment of Alzheimer's disease," he added.  

Eli Lilly shares were marked 10.9% higher in early trading Monday to change hands at $184.86 each, a move takes the stock to a 14.05% gain over the past six month.

In February of last year Eli Lilly said a trial of solanezumab, a drug used to treat patients with, or who are at risk for, dominantly inherited Alzheimer's disease, failed to meet the primary endpoint set for the multi-year study, which was conducted with Switzerland's Roche.