Aricept becomes the first drug to be cleared for treatment of all stages of Alzheimer's, the FDA declared on Oct 13. It had been previously approved for treating the initial stages of the disease. Eisai shares rose on the announcement upto 6,180 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday morning.
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease with no known cure, which affects brain functions of memory and thinking, leading to the patient's death after much mental deterioration. Doctors are already prescribing Aricept for the advanced stages, so the approval only gives an official status to the drug use.
The other drug being used in the US for treating the advanced stages of the disease is Namenda (Forest Laboratories).
Pfizer and Eisai entered an agreement in 1994 for promoting Aricept, which was discovered and developed by Eisai. This approval is likely to see consolidation of Pfizer's share of the Alzheimer's market. Sales of the drug have been forecast at $1.9 billion through March 2007