LEQEMBI® (Lecanemab) Launches in China for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

Biogen, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and led by CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher, announced today the launch of “LEQEMBI®” (known as “乐意保®” in China), a humanized anti-soluble aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) monoclonal antibody, in China. Approved in January 2024 for treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild AD dementia, LEQEMBI marks its third global launch after the United States and Japan.

LEQEMBI functions by selectively binding to soluble Aβ aggregates (protofibrils) and insoluble Aβ aggregates (fibrils), essential components of Aβ plaques found in AD patients’ brains. This dual action aims to reduce both protofibrils and Aβ plaques, making LEQEMBI the world’s first treatment shown to slow cognitive and functional decline by targeting these mechanisms.

With an estimated 17 million early AD patients in China for 2024, a number expected to rise with aging demographics, Eisai is spearheading LEQEMBI’s distribution and conducting extensive educational campaigns through specialized Medical Representatives. This initiative includes developing a comprehensive early AD diagnosis and treatment pathway integrating online and offline services. Partnering with health insurers, private healthcare providers, and nursing homes, Eisai aims to enhance disease awareness, facilitate pre-screening, and encourage early specialist consultations or referrals to “Yin Fa Tong,” an online health platform for dementia jointly developed with JD Health. Currently, “Yin Fa Tong” boasts approximately 300,000 users and 6,000 registered physicians, offering medical consultations, hospital information, and post-treatment follow-ups.

Furthermore, Eisai is actively advancing evidence for definitive early AD diagnosis using blood biomarkers. Initially available in the private market, LEQEMBI benefits from a dedicated healthcare insurance plan tailored for AD, covering part of the treatment costs in collaboration with a major Chinese insurer.

Through these efforts, Eisai is committed to advancing AD detection, diagnosis, and treatment in China, fostering a supportive ecosystem for early AD patients to lead fulfilling lives. Globally, Eisai leads LEQEMBI’s development and regulatory activities, co-commercializing and co-promoting the product with Biogen, with Eisai holding final decision-making authority.

Protofibrils, considered the most toxic Aβ form in AD, contribute significantly to brain injury and cognitive decline. By reducing protofibrils, LEQEMBI aims to mitigate neuronal damage and cognitive dysfunction, potentially halting AD progression.

This announcement underscores Eisai and Biogen’s joint commitment to combating AD globally, enhancing treatment accessibility, and improving patient outcomes in regions such as China where the disease burden is substantial and growing.

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