Mar 18, 2010

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Bapineuzumab More Disappointment

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Johnson & Johnson took over development of bapineuzumab, when it bought Elan's Alzheimer’s program last year. Study results for bapineuzumab were originally forecast for release in 2010. It now appears that study results for this Alzheimer’s disease drug may not yield results until 2012.

This is clearly another setback for the Alzheimer's community.

Elan (ELN) previously announced that recruitment for the first 18-month study of the drug was completed at the end of 2008. It appeared at that time that study results where forth coming. The cause of the current delay is Johnson and Johnson's decision to continue adding patients to the study.
“We are conducting some of the largest-scale trials ever in Alzheimer’s disease,” When they are complete, we expect to have a very comprehensive understanding of the clinical impact of bapineuzumab.” -- Eric Yuen of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy unit
It is easy to understand why the Alzheimer's community is disappointed, the last "new" drug approval for Alzheimer’s was Namenda, from Forest Laboratories (FRX) in 2003.

By my count, about 10 experimental drugs for Alzheimer's disease have failed in clinical trials since 2003.

Investors have been reacting wildly to news on Bapineuzumab and other experimental drugs. Take a look at this chart from Elan (ELN) dating back to March, 2001.

You'll notice that Elan' stock traded at a high around 60 in 2001. In the next year and a half it plunged to below $2 a share.

Back up to near $30 a share in 2005. Another fast hard plunge to $3 a share. Then all the way back up to $37 on the Bapineuzumab news. The stocks is now trading in the $7 area.

This comment by Ian Hunter, an analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin sums up the current situation, “It’s unfortunate for patients and physicians who are looking for some progress in Alzheimer’s disease, but that’s the nature of things.”

Also read:

Bapineuzumab, ICARA Study: Experimental Alzheimers drug offers new hope for patients

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,200 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room