Pfizer, J&J, Elan Alzheimer's Drug Fails

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Pfizer ( PFE) announced late Monday the failure of its experimental Alzheimer's disease drug bapineuzumab in a late-stage clinical trial.

Bapineuzumab is being co-developed by Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) with certain economic rights held by Irish drug maker Elan ( ELN). Investors widely expected bapineuzumab clinical trials to fail based on similarly poor results from mid-stage studies presented in July 2008.

The study announced Monday enrolled patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's who also carried a gene known as ApoE4 that confers a higher risk of developing the disease. Patients treated with bapineuzumab showed no cognitive or functional improvement compared to patients treated with a placebo, Pfizer said.

Three other phase III studies of bapineuzumab, enrolling both Apoe4 carriers and non carriers, are still underway with results expected later this year.

Elan shares are down 16% to $11.26 in Monday after-hours trading.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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