For nearly three decades, Lilly has been a leader in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Lilly’s scientists, researchers and doctors have been part of the global community diligently working to find a treatment. We are dedicated to effectively treating or preventing Alzheimer’s, which afflicts a new victim in the United States every 66 seconds.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia and—with more than 47 million people globally suffering from dementia—it’s urgent that we advance our understanding of this disease and how to diagnose and treat it. If left unchecked, it’s estimated that more than 75 million people worldwide will have dementia by 2030.
Understanding Alzheimer’s has been a long journey. In 1906, German physician Dr. Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what we now know as Alzheimer’s disease. But wasn’t until 1982 that the first theory trying to explain the disease’s cause was published. Lilly’s long commitment to fighting Alzheimer’s began in 1988, when we collaborated with Athena Neurosciences to better understand the processes leading to the disease. That collaboration generated important tools for drug discovery in Alzheimer’s disease, including assays and a transgenic animal model. Just as important, it helped build a global network of researchers, clinicians and industry experts that Lilly continues to partner with today in its Alzheimer’s research efforts.
Today, Lilly has investigative medicines and diagnostics in various stages of clinical development, including six investigational compounds to treat Alzheimer’s and three diagnostics to help better diagnose it. Specifically, there are programs targeting beta-amyloid and tau, two known hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, along with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging diagnostics that allow researchers to see both pathologies in the living brain.
Lilly’s robust Alzheimer’s disease research pipeline, comprised of compounds aimed to diagnose and slow the progression of the disease, is a result of our dedication to help those affected by this devastating disease. Lilly is proud of our own Alzheimer’s disease research and development efforts, and we are honored to be a part of other leading, independent collaborations in the broader Alzheimer’s disease scientific community.
A number of our molecules and diagnostics are being studied in partnership with important Alzheimer’s disease organizations. For example, solanezumab and Amyvid are being evaluated in the treatment phase of a long-term study called DIAN (Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s disease Network) run by Washington University in St. Louis. About 160 people with a mutation that predicts they will develop Alzheimer’s disease at an early age, some perhaps as young as 30, are enrolled in the study.
Our goal is to speed the timeline of bringing needed therapies to patients who are waiting. After nearly three decades of Alzheimer’s research, we know that it will take all of us, working together, to meet this most urgent need.