AstraZeneca ( AZN ) and Eli Lilly and Company ( LLY ) announced the initiation of the phase II/III AMARANTH study on AZD3293 (LY3314814) being developed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. AZD3293 is an oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor.
The study will be evaluating the safety and efficacy of AZD3293 in comparison to placebo for the treatment of early Alzheimer's disease. The initiation comes within three months of the companies inking the deal. The study will be enrolling 1500 patients in 15 countries.
In Sep 2014, the companies announced their alliance for the development and commercialization of this Alzheimer's disease candidate. As per the deal, Eli Lilly will lead the development path and will work alongside researchers from AstraZeneca, who will undertake manufacturing responsibilities (read more: AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly Collaborate for Alzheimer's Drug ).
We are encouraged by the companies' progress with their Alzheimer's disease candidate. As per data provided by the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases. An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. over the age of 65 are suffering from the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is therefore a highly lucrative market with several companies vying to enter the space.
Earlier in the year, we have seen Biogen Idec Inc. ( BIIB ) entering into a development and commercialization agreement with Eisai Co., Ltd. ( ESALY ) for a couple of Alzheimer's disease candidates in Eisai's pipeline (read more: Biogen-Eisai Ink Alzheimer's Deal ).
AstraZeneca carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Biogen is a better-ranked stock in the health care sector carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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