Eli Lilly and Company
) recently announced the acquisition of a couple of
investigational positron emission tomography (PET) tracers from
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
The tracers will aim to image tau (neurofibrillary) tangles in
the brain. According to studies of samples from autopsies, the
number and location of tau tangles in the brain of an Alzheimer's
disease patient could be connected to the extent of the
Eli Lilly will initially work on incorporating tau tangle
tracers into its anti-amyloid and anti-tau research and
The successful development of tau tangle tracers could help
identify at-risk patients at an earlier stage of the disease and
could also provide a marker to measure the response to treatment.
Eli Lilly may also commercialize the tracers. Financial details
of the transaction were not available.
Eli Lilly has been working on developing a treatment for
Alzheimer's disease. Solanezumab, an anti-amyloid beta monoclonal
antibody, is currently scheduled to move into an additional phase
III study that will be conducted in patients with mild
The study is scheduled to commence before the third quarter of
2013. We remind investors that Eli Lilly had initially reported
top-line data on solanezumab from the phase III, double-blind,
placebo-controlled EXPEDITION studies in Aug 2012. The studies
were conducted in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's
Although solanezumab failed to meet its primary endpoints in
both the phase III EXPEDITION studies, the candidate demonstrated
promising potential in slowing cognitive decline.
The Alzheimer's disease market has attracted a lot of
attention from several companies. However, the successful
development of therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease
is challenging and we note that several companies have failed in
developing treatments for the same.
Eli Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies
that look better-positioned include
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Partners Inc.
). All three are Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks.
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