AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly Partner to Create Another Alzheimer's Disease Drug

The companies will develop the targeted antibody drug, MEDI1814 for Alzheimer’s disease.

AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly have announced a clinical drug development collaboration to create a novel treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Under the agreement, the companies will co-develop the experimental treatment MEDI1814, which is a targeted antibody against amyloid-beta 24, according to a press release from AstraZeneca. The investigational drug is currently being tested in phase 1 clinical trials.

“We are excited to build on an already productive collaboration with Lilly, which combines the expertise of our two companies, with a new programme [sic] focused on the amyloid beta pathway,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, IMED Biotech Unit and Business Development, AstraZeneca. “MEDI1814 has a unique mechanism among antibodies in clinical development and could provide a distinct approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.”

The build-up of amyloid plaques is a known characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. As plaques continue to accumulate in the brain, the surrounding tissue becomes damaged, and memory is negatively affected. This memory dysfunction is the most well-known characteristic of the disease, with many individuals failing to remember critical information.

MEDI1814 dose-dependently reduces levels of amyloid beta, which may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to AstraZeneca.

This latest collaboration builds on a previous drug development agreement between the 2 companies, which was created in 2014. The previous agreement related to the co-development of an oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme inhibitor.

The drug, AZD3293, is also being developed by the companies as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The drug is currently in ongoing phase 3 clinical trials. In August, AstraZeneca and Lilly announced the drug received Fast Track designation from the FDA for this indication.

With the new agreement, Lilly will make a $30 million payment to AstraZeneca, which will be reflected in Lilly’s fourth quarter earnings.

“At Lilly, we recognise [sic] the significant burden Alzheimer’s disease places on patients, caregivers and our society and we remain committed to finding ways to change the course of the disease,” said Jan Lundberg, Executive Vice President of Science and Technology and President of Lilly Research Laboratories. “We are pleased to be expanding our alliance with AstraZeneca to further build our pipeline of potential medicines and diagnostic agents. AstraZeneca brings capabilities and expertise and most importantly shares our passion to bring new medicines to patients suffering from this debilitating illness.”