Eli Lilly to ‘re-evalute staffing decisions’ after Alzheimer’s drug fails trial

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Layoffs could be coming to Indianapolis based drug-maker Eli Lilly and Company after its Alzheimer’s drug failed a large-scale trial.

Lilly announced last week, Solanezumab or “sola,” did not show significant slowing in cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients with mild dementia. That means the results of the $150 million EXPEDITION3 clinical trial did not meet FDA standards and cannot be approved for market.

A spokesperson for Lilly confirmed to CBS4 that “the sola results will cause us to re-evaluate staffing decisions made in anticipation of positive results in EXPEDITION3, and the re-evaluation process is just now beginning. Affected employees will learn more as decisions are made.”

According to a press release, the company will provide an update on its financials on December 15. The company insists it still stands strong.

Lilly researcher Dr. Eric Siemers said the drug-maker would not give up on Alzheimer’s research.

“Obviously as a company it would’ve been better for sola to be positive, but the company is in very good shape,” he explained. “We have a very broad portfolio, not just for Alzheimer’s disease. We have projected earnings increases over the next few years. So the company is fine without sola for a lot of reasons.”

Sola had a promising start and it isn’t dead yet. Dr. Siemers told CBS4, Lilly is in discussions to possibly perform new trials with patients who are at a much earlier stage of Alzheimer’s or people who haven’t developed symptoms yet, but will likely be diagnosed later in life.

Siemers added while the drug failed the trial, the research will benefit the efforts to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

“We didn’t get the answer that we wanted in this trial, but there is a lot that we can learn from this. We think we’re on the right pathway still, this just wasn’t the right molecule at the right time,” he said. “We’re very disappointed, primarily for the patients and their families that could’ve benefited from this.”

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