Another Pharmaceutical Disappointment for Alzheimer’s Drugs

Out Take: Finding an answer for Alzheimer’s continues to confound the pharmaceutical industry with the latest failure coming from Biogen. There are still several potentially promising drugs in the pipeline but so far, none seem to have cracked the code. Here is an update from Darwin Research Group:
Biogen is scrapping its lead compound, aducanumab, an investigational treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and is canceling its Phase III ENGAGE and EMERGE clinical trials. The compound was being developed in collaboration with Eisai.
In a statement, Biogen said it decided to stop the trials based on results of a futility analysis indicating that the trials were unlikely to meet their endpoint. The trials were not halted for safety reasons, Biogen emphasized.
“This disappointing news confirms the complexity of treating Alzheimer’s disease and the need to further advance knowledge in neuroscience,” said Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos.
Biogen shares closed down 29% Thursday, erasing nearly $16 billion in market value.
Aducanumab is the latest of many drugs designed to reduce beta-amyloid plaques, proteins that clump between neurons and are thought to be related to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. All of these drugs have failed in clinical trials.
Most recently, Roche and AC Immune announced in January that they were stopping trials of rival Alzheimer’s antibody crenezumab after their own futility analysis indicated little chance of a positive outcome.

Credits:  Darwin Research Group provides advanced market intelligence and customer insights to health care executives. Our strategic focus is on health care delivery systems and the global shift toward value-based care. Contact John Marchica, CEO and Our Take editor, or 480.305.2059. For more information:

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