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Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment LEQEMBI® Launched in China, Marking Major Milestone

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) treatment for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia, LEQEMBI® (lecanemab), has been launched in China, making it the third country to do so after the United States and Japan. Eisai Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, and Biogen Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced the launch today. LEQEMBI, a humanized anti-soluble aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) monoclonal antibody, received approval in China in January 2024.

LEQEMBI works by selectively binding to soluble Aβ aggregates (protofibrils) and insoluble Aβ aggregates (fibrils), which are key components of Aβ plaques in AD. By reducing both Aβ protofibrils and plaques, LEQEMBI is the first and only approved treatment shown to reduce the rate of disease progression and slow cognitive and functional decline in patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Eisai estimates that by 2024, there will be 17 million patients in China with MCI or mild dementia due to AD. This number is expected to rise as the population ages. To address this growing need, Eisai is distributing LEQEMBI in China and conducting information provision activities through specialized Medical Representatives. They are also working to establish a comprehensive early Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and treatment pathway, combining both online and offline services.

Eisai’s Collaboration Expands Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Early Detection in China

Eisai’s initiatives include collaboration with commercial health insurance companies, private health checkups, and nursing homes to provide disease awareness and pre-screening opportunities. High-risk individuals are encouraged to visit specialized hospitals early or are referred to “Yin Fa Tong,” an online health platform for the elderly developed in partnership with JD Health.

“Yin Fa Tong” has about 300,000 registered users and 6,000 registered physicians, offering information on nearby hospitals and specialists, online medical consultations, and follow-up after LEQEMBI treatment. Eisai is also working to gather evidence for the use of blood biomarkers in the definitive diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s disease.

In China, LEQEMBI will initially be available in the private market. In collaboration with Eisai, a major Chinese medical insurance company has launched a healthcare insurance plan specifically for AD, which includes partial coverage of the drug cost. Through these efforts, Eisai is dedicated to promoting early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in China, building a comprehensive dementia ecosystem, and supporting people with early AD to live their fullest lives.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Eisai and Biogen Launch LEQEMBI in China, Advancing Alzheimer’s Treatment and Patient Care

Eisai leads the global development and regulatory submissions for LEQEMBI, with both Eisai and Biogen co-commercializing and co-promoting the product. Eisai holds final decision-making authority. Protofibrils are believed to contribute significantly to brain injury in AD and are considered the most toxic form of Aβ. They play a primary role in cognitive decline by increasing the development of insoluble Aβ plaques and causing direct damage to brain cell membranes and neural connections. Reducing protofibrils may prevent Alzheimer’s disease progression by mitigating neuronal damage and cognitive dysfunction.

The launch of LEQEMBI in China represents a significant step forward in the global fight against Alzheimer’s disease. By providing an effective treatment that can slow disease progression and improve cognitive function, LEQEMBI offers new hope for millions of patients.

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Eisai’s comprehensive strategy to integrate diagnosis, treatment, and patient support systems, along with their collaboration with Biogen and Chinese healthcare providers, aims to transform the management of Alzheimer’s disease in China. This initiative underscores the importance of early detection and intervention in managing this debilitating condition and sets the stage for improved patient outcomes and quality of life.

 

Resource: Biogen, June 27, 2024

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