Belfast Telegraph

Alzheimer test failure sparks Elan shares fall

Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are ending development of an intravenous formulation of a drug to treat Alzheimer's disease after the treatment failed in two late-stage clinical trials.

The companies hoped bapineuzumab intravenous would slow the decline in physical and mental function for patients with Alzheimer's. However the drug did not work better than a placebo in two late-stage trials in patients who had mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Dublin-based Elan, which licensed the drug to Johnson -amp; Johnson in 2009, said it will take a $117.3m (£75m) charge of its own. Its shares lost 9.4% in after-hours trading yesterday.

Johnson -amp; Johnson made a big bet on bapineuzumab in 2009, agreeing to invest up to US$ 1.5bn (£1bn) initially.

The drug is designed to prevent the build-up of plaque in the brain.

Current treatments for Alzheimer's can only temporarily ease symptoms of the disease.

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