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Eli Lilly Alzheimer’s Drug Gains FDA Breakthrough Designation

Stock MarketsJun 24, 2021 08:09AM ET
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© Bloomberg. An Eli Lilly & Co. logo is seen on a box of insulin medication in this arranged photograph at a pharmacy in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Eli Lilly is scheduled to release earnings figures on October 24. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Eli Lilly & Co (NYSE:LLY) rose after its experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease gained breakthrough status from U.S. regulators, a designation that will speed its consideration for approval.

Biogen's (NASDAQ:BIIB) Aduhelm was approved for Alzheimer’s on June 7 after gaining breakthrough status in a controversial move by the Food and Drug Administration. Lecanemab, another drug being developed by Biogen and its partner Eisai (OTC:ESALY), received the same designation Wednesday. Lilly gained as much as 8.7% in trading before U.S. markets opened. Biogen fell 3.5%.

Like Aduhelm, Lilly’s donanemab attacks amyloid, an abnormal protein believed to be involved in the damage Alzheimer’s causes in the brain. Critics of the Biogen drug’s approval have said that human trials haven’t definitively shown its effectiveness, and that its $56,000 annual price tag is excessive.

Lilly intends to submit a biologics license application for donanemab under the accelerated approval pathway later this year, according to a company statement Thursday.

Breakthrough therapy status is designed to speed development and review of drugs for serious or life threatening ailments. It doesn’t mean the FDA will approve the drug in question, or that the agency has already determined that the experimental medicine is, in fact, a breakthrough.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Eli Lilly Alzheimer’s Drug Gains FDA Breakthrough Designation

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