(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said its experimental Alzheimer's drug was able to slow cognitive decline in patients with a mild form of the disease, though it failed the main goals of two late-stage trials.
The trials, known as EXPEDITION 1 and 2, tested solanezumab in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, compared with a placebo.
A secondary analysis of the results showed a statistically significant slowing of cognitive decline in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, but not in patients with moderate Alzheimer's disease, the company said.
The results lend weight to expectations that the treatment may still prove viable if tested in patients either at an earlier stage of the disease, or who have yet to show symptoms.
"We recognize that the solanezumab studies did not meet their primary endpoints, but we are encouraged by the pooled data that appear to show a slowing of cognitive decline," said Lilly Chief Executive John Lechleiter. "We intend to discuss these data with regulatory authorities to gain their insights on potential next steps."
Patients on the drug also experienced adverse events such as lethargy, rash, malaise and angina, compared to the placebo. The trial included 2,050 patients from 16 countries.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5 million Americans are believed to have the disease.
The drugmaker said it will discuss the data with regulatory authorities.