Lilly drug may help mild Alzheimer's - studies

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said pooled datafrom two large studies show patients with mild Alzheimer'sdisease taking its experimental drug solanezumab had 34-percentless decline in memory over 18 months compared with those takingplacebos.

In the pooled analysis presented on Monday at a medicalmeeting in Boston, the closely watched drug did notsignificantly protect against loss of physical functions.

Lilly was able to demonstrate the modest success bycombining data from a pair of solanezumab studies that eachfailed their primary goal of slowing progression of thememory-robbing disease in the wider population of patients withmild-to-moderate symptoms.

The latest data lend further credence to the theory thatAlzheimer's must be attacked early in the disease for drugs tohave a clinically meaningful impact on the leading cause ofdementia.

Initial data unveiled in August created doubts about whetherthe drug could be approved by the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration without large new studies. The Lilly drug, likePfizer Inc's bapineuzumab which also failed in pivotalstudies, works by blocking a protein called beta amyloid thatforms plaque deposits on the brain.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson and Bill Berkrot; Editing byRichard Chang)

((ransdell.pierson@thomsonreuters.com)(646 223 6030))