China Approves Leqembi for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Eisai Co., Ltd. and Biogen Inc. have announced that humanised anti-soluble aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) monoclonal antibody “LEQEMBI” has been approved in China as a treatment of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild AD dementia. Preparations for launch within the second quarter of Eisai’s FY 2024 (July 1 – September 30, 2024) are underway.

LEQEMBI selectively binds to soluble Aβ aggregates (protofibrils), as well as insoluble Aβ aggregates (fibrils) which are a major component of Aβ plaques, thereby reducing both Aβ protofibrils and Aβ plaques in the brain. LEQEMBI is the first and only approved treatment shown to reduce the rate of disease progression and to slow cognitive and functional decline through this mechanism. China is the third country to grant marketing approval, following the traditional approval in the U.S. in July 2023 and Japanese approval in September 2023.

LEQEMBI’s approval in China is based on the large global Phase III Clarity AD study. In the Clarity AD study, LEQEMBI met its primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with statistically significant results. In November 2022, the results of the Clarity AD study were presented at the 2022 Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) conference, and simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Eisai estimates that there will be 17 million patients with MCI or mild dementia due to AD in China in 2024, which is expected to increase with the ageing of the population. Eisai will distribute the product in China and will conduct information provision activities through specialised Medical Representatives. Moving forward, Eisai will focus on AD awareness via omnichannel systems and collaborate with specialists to improve the diagnostic environment, including blood-based biomarkers. In addition, by utilizing online health platform for the elderly “Yin Fa Tong”, which is already being accessed by a certain number of users and helping provide treatments, Eisai is providing a one-stop service that promotes early consultation by referring patients to medical specialists and follow-up after treatment. In addition, Eisai will work to improve access environments including the development of insurance programs for AD in collaboration with insurance companies. Through these efforts, Eisai will accelerate the construction of a simple patient journey in China.


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