The Wall Street Journal: Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca scrap trials of experimental Alzheimer’s drug

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AstraZeneca PLC AZN, -0.58%   and Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, -0.43%   on Tuesday scrapped two late-stage trials of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug they were co-developing, the latest blow in the long quest to find a breakthrough for the memory-robbing disorder.

The companies said the decision was taken after an independent data-monitoring committee concluded that trials associated with lanabecestat, the experimental drug, wouldn’t achieve their original goals. The companies said the treatment wasn’t working as well as they had hoped and that ending the trials wasn’t a result of any safety concerns.

An AstraZeneca spokesman said the two will continue to jointly pursue an early-stage trial of another experimental Alzheimer’s drug. Lilly separately has other Alzheimer’s compounds in clinical trials, according to a company spokeswoman.

Current treatments for Alzheimer’s can alleviate symptoms, but don’t slow the condition’s underlying progression. The brain disease affects an estimated 5 million Americans, and tens of millions globally, but has been tough for the drug industry to crack because scientists don’t fully understand what causes it.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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