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Biogen Idec’s ALS Drug Falls Short In Trials

Two women walk by Biogen Idec corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. in this Feb. 15, 2006 file photo. (Elise Amendola/AP File)

Two women walk by Biogen Idec corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. in this Feb. 15, 2006 file photo. (Elise Amendola/AP File)

A Weston-based biotechnology company has announced that its experimental ALS — or Lou Gehrig’s disease — treatment has failed to produce the expected results.

Biogen Idec, which spend about $80 million developing the experimental ALS treatment, on Thursday released a statement saying the drug was not working as hoped.

“As a physician who has treated people with ALS, I hoped with all my heart for a different outcome,” Douglas Kerr, Biogen’s director of neurodegeneration clinical research, said in a statement. “While these results were not what we expected, we hope these data will provide a foundation for future ALS research.”

ALS is a nerve cell disorder that starts with muscle weakness, eventually causes paralysis, and typically leads to death within five years of diagnosis.

The news was hugely disappointing to the 30,000 Americans who have ALS and their families, and to the scientists who’ve spent years trying to find a cure.

Guest:

  • Dr. Gilmore O’Neill, neurologist and vice president of clinical development at Biogen
  • Marilyn Sanford, Living with ALS since 2008

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