Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson To Stop Trials of Alzheimer's Drug
08/06/2012| 05:51pm US/Eastern
By Kristin Jones
Pfizer Inc. (>> Pfizer Inc.) and Johnson & Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson) said they are discontinuing four advanced clinical studies of a potential Alzheimer's treatment after it failed to meet its primary goals related to improving cognition and warding off dementia.
The two companies were conducting Phase Three trials of intravenous bapineuzumab, an antibody that targets beta amyloid, a protein believed to play a central role in Alzheimer's disease.
Last month, Pfizer said the highly anticipated investigational treatment had failed to reach its goals in one of the four studies.
Two of the studies, which were aimed at treating people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, were conducted through Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, in partnership with Pfizer in the Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program.
"While we are disappointed in the results of the two bapineuzumab IV studies, particularly in light of the urgent need for new advancements in Alzheimer's disease, we believe that targeting and clearing beta amyloid remains a promising path to potential clinical benefits for people suffering from this disease," said Husseini K. Manji, global therapeutic head for neuroscience at Janssen Research & Development LLC.
Pfizer also led two other primarily North American studies of bapineuzumab IV, which will also be discontinued.
Drug makers including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly & Co. (>> Eli Lilly & Co.) are spending millions of dollars to find the first treatment to address the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's, a form of dementia that progressively robs patients of their memories and affects their thinking and behavior.
Pfizer shares, down 2.1% to $23.75 in after-hours trading, are up 12% so far this year.
Johnson & Johnson shares were down 1.6% to $67.75 after hours, while it is up 5% for the year.
Write to Kristin Jones at email@example.com.
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