FDA Grants Priority Review to Biogen and Eisai’s Investigational Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Aducanumab

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and TOKYO, Aug. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) and Eisai, Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the Biologics License Application (BLA) for aducanumab, an investigational treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The application has been granted Priority Review, with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) action date on March 7, 2021, and the FDA has stated that, if possible, it plans to act early on this application under an expedited review. If approved, aducanumab would become the first therapy to reduce the clinical decline of Alzheimer’s disease and would also be the first therapy to demonstrate that removing amyloid beta resulted in better clinical outcomes.

“The FDA’s acceptance of the aducanumab BLA with Priority Review is an important step in the path to potentially having a treatment that meaningfully changes the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Michel Vounatsos, Chief Executive Officer at Biogen. “We look forward to working with the FDA throughout the review process and thank the thousands of clinicians, patients and caregivers who participated in our clinical trials and have accompanied us on this journey. We believe that aducanumab marks the beginning of a new era of potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease that will inspire even more discovery and innovation to bring hope to those affected by this devastating disease.” 

“Reducing clinical decline and maintaining the ability to live an independent life for as long as possible are things that people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families value in a potential treatment,” said Dr. Haruo Naito, Chief Executive Officer at Eisai Co., Ltd. “If aducanumab is approved, we expect that it will make a difference in the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. We believe that this historic milestone is one step towards creating a paradigm shift in treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, a public health issue for aging societies.”

Biogen did not use its Priority Review voucher for the aducanumab BLA. The FDA also stated that it is currently planning to hold an Advisory Committee meeting for this application on a yet-to-be-determined date.

“Today, I am heartened by what this progress may mean for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families,” said Dr. Christopher van Dyck, M.D., Director of the Yale Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. “If aducanumab is determined to be effective in reducing the decline in cognition and activities of daily living resulting from progression of this disease by addressing the underlying disease pathology, it will deliver meaningful benefits to those who most need them.”

About Aducanumab

Aducanumab (BIIB037) is an investigational human monoclonal antibody studied for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on clinical data from patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease and mild Alzheimer’s disease, aducanumab has the potential to impact underlying disease pathophysiology, slow cognitive and functional decline and provide benefits on patients’ ability to perform activities of daily living, including conducting personal finances, performing household chores, such as cleaning, shopping and doing laundry, and independently traveling out of the home. If approved, aducanumab would be the first treatment to meaningfully change the course of the disease for individuals living with Alzheimer’s.

Biogen licensed aducanumab from Neurimmune under a collaborative development and license agreement. Since October 2017 Biogen and Eisai have collaborated on the development and commercialization of aducanumab globally.

EMERGE and ENGAGE were Phase 3 multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group studies designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of aducanumab. The primary objective of the studies was to evaluate the efficacy of monthly doses of aducanumab as compared with placebo in reducing cognitive and functional impairment as measured by changes in the Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) score. Secondary objectives were to assess the effect of monthly doses of aducanumab as compared to placebo on clinical decline as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale 13 Items (ADAS-Cog 13) and Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living Inventory Mild Cognitive Impairment Version (ADCS-ADL-MCI).

About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that impairs thinking, memory and independence, leading to premature death. The disease currently cannot be stopped, delayed or prevented and is a growing global health crisis, affecting those living with the disease and their families. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tens of millions of people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number will grow in the years ahead, outpacing the healthcare resources needed to manage it and costing billions of dollars.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by changes in the brain, including the abnormal accumulation of toxic amyloid beta plaque, which begins approximately 20 years before patients exhibit symptoms of the disease. Mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease is one of the earliest stages of the disease when symptoms start to be more visible and can be detected and diagnosed. Current research efforts are focused on catching and treating patients as early as possible for the best chance of slowing or stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

About Biogen

At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics and is focused on advancing research programs in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, neuromuscular disorders, movement disorders, ophthalmology, immunology, neurocognitive disorders, acute neurology and pain.

We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.biogen.com. Follow us on social media – TwitterLinkedInFacebookYouTube.

About Eisai Co., Ltd.

Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. Eisai’s corporate philosophy is based on the human health care (hhc) concept, which is to give first thought to patients and their families, and to increase the benefits that health care provides to them. With a global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realize our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products to target diseases with high unmet medical needs, with a particular focus in our strategic areas of Neurology and Oncology.

Leveraging the experience gained from the development and marketing a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Eisai aims to establish the “Eisai Dementia Platform.” Through this platform, Eisai plans to deliver novel benefits to those living with dementia and their families through constructing a “Dementia Ecosystem,” by collaborating with partners such as medical organizations, diagnostic development companies, research organizations, and bio-ventures in addition to private insurance agencies, finance industries, fitness clubs, automobile makers, retailers, and care facilities. For more information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit https://www.eisai.com.

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