Headline RoundupSeptember 29th, 2022

New Alzheimer’s Drug Slowed Cognitive Decline 27% in Clinical Trial

AllSides Summary

A clinic trial for a new Alzheimer’s treatment has yielded positive results in slowing cognitive decline. The drug, named Lecanemab, is being developed by Cambridge-based Biogen and Tokyo-based Eisai. Shares in both companies, and other companies researching the disease, jumped after results were announced.

The drug works by targeting proteins called beta-amyloids that harden into plaque that researchers believe is a contributor to Alzheimer’s. Early results showed that Lacanemab reduced cognitive decline by 27% after 18 months of treatment. The developers are seeking accelerated approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Biogen’s last attempt at an Alzheimer's treatment, called Aduhelm, effectively failed at market last year due to its $56,000 annual price tag and its unproven effectiveness. The key difference between last year’s Aduhelm and this year’s Lecanemab is that Aduhelm targets proteins already hardened into plaque, and Lecanemab targets proteins not yet hardened. Eisai has said that Lecanemab’s annual price tag will fall somewhere between $9,249 and $35,605. This raises its chances of being covered by Medicare, which Aduhelm largely was not.

Coverage of the trial’s findings have emphasized the significance of the treatment’s early success. Axios (Center Bias) and Associated Press (Lean Left Bias) both covered the financial aspect of the drug, highlighting how it must become cheaper and more proven-effective for doctors to begin recommending it and insurance companies to begin covering it. 

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