fb-pixel Skip to main content

Biogen data support Alzheimer’s research

AP/file 2015

Biogen Inc. published findings Wednesday that backed up its report last year that an experimental compound slowed the mental decline of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Data from Biogen Inc.’s early studies, if confirmed in ongoing clinical trials, could offer “compelling support” for a longstanding theory on the cause of the neurodegenerative disorder, scientists from Biogen and their associates reported in a leading journal Wednesday

The article published in the journal Nature detailed preclinical studies on mice and an early-stage clinical trial with human patients given Biogen’s experimental drug called aducanumab.

Cambridge-based Biogen, which hopes to market the first drug treating the underlying driver of Alzheimer’s, last year reported encouraging results from those studies, noting that the drug slowed the mental decline of a small number of patients who had early indications and mild cases of Alzheimer’s, a disease that robs patients of their memory and cognition.


The article in Nature, written by a team of scientists at Biogen, its partners, and hospitals conducting the studies, including Biogen chief medical officer Alfred W. Sandrock Jr., is the formal publication of the data. It is peer-reviewed by independent neurologists working for the journal, helping to validate the research.

Biogen’s shares fell 0.7 percent to $305.63 on the Nasdaq stock exchange Wednesday, a loss of $2.23.

Aducanumab reduced the buildup of amyloid plaque in patients, slowing their clinical decline, the article said. That would support the so-called amyloid hypothesis: that the build-up of amyloid beta protein in the brain leads to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“These results justify further development of aducanumab for the treatment of Alzheimer’s,” the article said. “Should the slowing of clinical decline be confirmed in ongoing phase 3 clinical trials, it would provide compelling support for the amyloid hypothesis.”

Biogen is currently conducting a larger late-stage clinical trial of aducanumab at sites worldwide, and is recruiting patients in the United States, Europe, and Japan. If successful, the data would be used to support a new drug application with regulators in the United States and abroad. Such a drug is considered key to the future of Biogen, the world’s leader in multiple sclerosis therapies.


Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.