(Adds details on drugs, solanezumab history)
Oct 10 (Reuters) - Experimental drugs from Roche Holding AG
and Eli Lilly & Co have been selected for aglobal Alzheimer's disease prevention trial, and a second Lillydrug is being considered for inclusion in the study, WashingtonUniversity said on Wednesday.
The trial, expected to begin in early 2013, will enroll 160patients with inherited gene mutations that typically lead toAlzheimer's disease at a young age, the St. Louis universitysaid on Wednesday.
The drugs chosen for the study are Roche's gantenerumab andLilly's solanezumab. Under consideration is an experimentalLilly drug called a beta-secretase inhibitor.
Researchers in August said solanezumab failed to preventdecline in cognitive and physical function among patients withmild to moderate Alzheimer's in two large late-stage studies.
But hopes for the drug were revived a bit on Monday whenLilly said an analysis of pooled data from the two studiesshowed solanezumab led to a 34 percent reduction in memorydecline for patients with mild symptoms over a period of 18months. It said the change was statistically significant.
Solanezumab, a monoclonal antibody, attacks beta amyloid, aprotein that forms plaques in the brain that many scientistsbelieve are a main cause of the progressive memory-robbingdisease.
Some industry analysts expect Lilly to seek marketingapproval of solanezumab based on the mixed trial data, butothers say the Indianapolis drugmaker would have to complete alarge costly new trial among patients with mild symptoms to winapproval.
Shares of Lilly, up more than 7 percent since the pooleddata were unveiled on Monday, were down 1.6 percent in morningtrading. Shares of Roche were 1 percent lower amid a moderatedecline in the ARCA Pharmaceutical Index of large U.S.and European drugmakers.
Washington University, in a press release, said the Lillybeta-secretase inhibitor, now being tested by the company inmid-stage studies, is designed to reduce the amount of betaamyloid proteins produced by the body, thereby slowing theaccumulation of brain plaques.
(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormickand John Wallace)
((firstname.lastname@example.org)(646 223 6030))
Keywords: ROCHE LILLY/ALZHEIMERS