Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital have selected Eli Lilly's (NYSE:LLY) solanezumab as the first drug to be tested in the previously announced Anti-amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease, also known as A4, prevention clinical trial.

Solanezumab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to amyloid beta, a protein which aggregates in the brain, forming plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The drug failed its phase 3 trials last year, but showed promise in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease. Eli Lilly recently announced plans to study solanezumab in that specific population.

The National Institutes of Health, and the private sector, will fund the three-year A4 trial that will enroll 1,000 patients ages 70 to 85. Patients will be enrolled in the trial before they show clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but will have evidence of the abnormal amyloid protein building up in the brain detected on PET scans using Lilly's Amyvid.

Researchers hope that treating patients before they show symptoms will slow cognitive decline, potentially preventing Alzheimer's disease from forming.

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