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Why A Roche-Partnered Alzheimer’s Drug Sent AC Immune Stock Flying

AC Immune (ACIU) said Tuesday its Roche (RHHBY)-partnered drug slowed cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients in a midstage test, and ACIU stock rocketed to a six-month high.




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The drug targets tau, a protein that causes problems when it misfolds and becomes tangled in the brain. On an 11-item scale of cognition, the drug called semorinemab slowed cognitive decline by 43.6% vs. patients’ baselines, AC Immune said in a news release.

AC Immune Chief Executive Andrea Pfeifer noted this is the first time a tau-directed drug has shown a benefit on cognition in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients. But she also noted the test was short at just 49 weeks. So, the companies will continue with another test.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a slow-moving chronic disease, and this small trial was relatively short, 49 weeks; so the data from the open-label extension may be important in elucidating the potential of semorinemab in this patient population,” she said in a written statement.

On the stock market today, ACIU stock popped 16.3% to 8.13. Earlier, shares soared as high as 80.4% to touch a six-month high at 12.61.

ACIU Stock Soars On Alzheimer’s Data

AC Immune and Roche looked for improvement on four scales of cognition. Just one passed muster — the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale Cognitive Subscale, 11-item Version. On that scale, semorinemab-treated patients experienced a nearly 44% reduction in cognitive decline.

But other measures of Alzheimer’s disease measuring functional or cognitive decline didn’t show improvement.

“Despite these interesting results, we are still cautious about what this may mean for patients as there was not an impact on the rate of functional decline or other (effectiveness goals),” Pfeifer said.

In early action, ACIU stock hit its highest point since February. Shares broke out of a consolidation with a buy point at 8.74, according to MarketSmith.com. The news Tuesday sent ACIU stock well above a profit-taking zone.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.

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