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Eli Lilly imaging agent helps detect Alzheimer's disease in phase 3 study

Eli Lilly and Co. and its unit Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc.'s imaging agent flortaucipir succeeded in helping detect Alzheimer's disease through a brain scan in a phase 3 study.

Flortaucipir is being tested as an imaging agent that helps in tracing brain activity during a Positron Emission Tomography scan.

Dubbed A16, the study tested 156 patients nearing death and having dementia or mild cognitive impairment, characterized by problems with memory and thinking skills.

The study's main goal included detecting traces of abnormal protein clumps called tau tangles as well as degenerative changes in the brain due to Alzheimer's disease.

Degenerative changes in the brain were measured by focusing on the accumulation of tau tangles and amyloid plaque, both of which are believed to be a key to Alzheimer's disease treatment.

Results from 67 patients, who were analyzed after death, showed that flortaucipir demonstrated statistically significant sensitivity in detecting tau tangles and brain degeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Indianapolis, Ind.-based Eli Lilly will release detailed results from the study in October at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease meeting in Barcelona.

Eli Lilly, whose potential Alzheimer's disease therapy has previously failed in a phase 3 study, will also explore steps regarding a filing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.