Why Working Alzheimer’s Candidates Oft’ Seem A White Whale, On The Briny Horizon: Lilly Edition Redux

life-alz-lilly-miss-2016We have detailed all of this metaphorical would-be whale spearing before. Many times before. First it was legacy Schering-Plough (2009) then Baxter (2013), then Lilly (2013), and now, Lilly, again — with a miss — a clank — on an Alzheimer’s disease candidate’s efficacy trial. [I am sure there have been others that I am forgetting at the moment — but those examples will suffice — to make the point.]

The rewards of success (the blubber haul alone) would be vast — but in some ways, each of these companies’ CEOs must feel (a bit) the part of Captain Ahab. . . . That great white whale has eluded them, once again. Another of Lilly’s β-Amyloid pathway candidates has failed a primary endpoint, in a Phase II/III study. Will Merck’s latest β-Amyloid pathway candidate (still in Phase Ib) fare better? We shall have to wait and see — but here is the story, this morning — and a bit:

. . . .Eli Lilly and Company shares plunged 14% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the company’s treatment for people with mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease failed to meet the primary endpoint in a late-stage clinical trial. . . .

I am forever fascinated by how often — in human biology — it seems that any given cognitive function disease/impairment is driven not by one or two clear defining change(s), in brain chemistry, or its DNA replication process — but by perhaps thousands (or tens of thousands?) tiny, almost imperceptible ones. . . occuring seemingly almost at random. That, my friends, will likely make Alzheimer’s one very tough problem to solve.

As we wrap up our short week, we are smiling ear to ear — so very much to be grateful for. . . with the return of old friendships, especially in mind, here. . . .

नमस्ते

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