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Eli Lilly And Co. Plans To End Contract With UCSD For Alzheimer's Study

Eli Lilly and Co. Tuesday notified UC San Diego of its intent to end its contract with the university for the management of a $76 million study of Alzheimer's disease.

The study, known as A4, has been embroiled in a legal dispute between UCSD and the University of Southern California.

UCSD filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court after the director of the Alzheimer's study, Dr. Paul Aisen, left UCSD to join USC and transferred critical data from the project to the Los Angeles school.


On Tuesday, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes issued a preliminary injunction against USC, ordering the university to return the data and computer systems to UCSD.

Lilly's decision to move its money for the A4 study to USC is a blow to the San Diego school. But Dr. Gary Firestein, UCSD's associate vice chancellor of translation research, said it's not a fatal wound.

“The A4 study is quite important, it’s certainly a part of the portfolio," Firestein admitted. "But it is only a slice of the pie when looking at the universe of research efforts that are going on at the University of California in Alzheimer’s."

Phyllis Ferrell, Alzheimer's platform leader for Lilly, said the company's move is not intended to be a slight on UCSD.

"Lilly has many ongoing collaborations with researchers at UCSD and within the UC system more broadly, and nothing in our decision concerning the A4 study should be read to reflect any diminished enthusiasm in working with UCSD on these other important projects," Ferrell said.


Eli Lilly, the National Institutes of Health and multiple philanthropic organizations fund the Anti-amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease (A4) study.

Corrected: June 30, 2022 at 5:52 PM PDT
Kenny Goldberg contributed to this report.