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Leqembi Launched in China for Treating Alzheimer's Disease | 2024 | iPharmaCenter

Eisai and Biogen announced that the humanized anti-soluble aggregated amyloid-beta (Aβ) monoclonal antibody, Leqembi (ecanemab) (known in China as "乐意保®" and generically as lecanemab), has been launched in China. This follows its earlier launches in the United States and Japan.

Leqembi launched in China for treating Alzheimer's Disease
Leqembi launched in China for treating Alzheimer's Disease

Leqembi specifically targets and binds to soluble Aβ aggregates (protofibrils) and insoluble Aβ aggregates (fibrils), which are key components of Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. By reducing these Aβ protofibrils and plaques in the brain, Leqembi has been shown to slow the progression of the disease and mitigate cognitive and functional decline, making it the first and only treatment approved with this mechanism of action.

Eisai estimates that by 2024, China will have approximately 17 million people with MCI or mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. As the population ages, this number is expected to rise. Eisai is managing the distribution of Leqembi in China and is conducting information provision activities through specialized Medical Representatives. Additionally, Eisai is working to establish a comprehensive early AD diagnosis and treatment pathway that integrates both online and offline services.

In partnership with commercial health insurance providers, private health checkups, and nursing homes, Eisai is promoting disease awareness and pre-screening opportunities, encouraging at-risk individuals to seek early consultations at specialized hospitals. Moreover, Eisai is collaborating with JD Health to enhance the "Yin Fa Tong" platform, an online health service for the elderly, focusing on dementia care. This platform, which currently has about 300,000 registered users and 6,000 registered physicians, offers information on nearby hospitals and specialists, online medical consultations, and follow-up care after Leqembi treatment. Eisai is also working on establishing evidence for the use of blood biomarkers in the definitive diagnosis of early AD.

Initially, Leqembi will be available in the private market in China. A major Chinese medical insurance company has introduced a healthcare insurance plan, developed in collaboration with Eisai, which partially covers the cost of the drug. Through these efforts, Eisai aims to promote early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of AD in China, contributing to the development of a comprehensive dementia care ecosystem and supporting people with early AD to live fuller lives.

Eisai leads the global development and regulatory submissions for Leqembi, with both Eisai and Biogen co-commercializing and co-promoting the product. Eisai retains final decision-making authority.

Protofibrils are believed to contribute significantly to brain injury in AD, being highly toxic forms of Aβ that play a major role in cognitive decline. They can cause neuronal damage in the brain, negatively impacting cognitive function by increasing insoluble Aβ plaques and causing direct harm to brain cell membranes and neural connections. Reducing protofibrils is thought to help prevent AD progression by minimizing neuronal damage and cognitive dysfunction.


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