Vaccine: CAD106
Companies: Novartis and Cytos
Target: Amyloid β peptide in Alzheimer's disease

In another step away from cancer therapeutic vaccines, CAD106, a vaccine co-developed by Novartis ($NVS) and Cytos that targets the amyloid β peptide, has shown early hints of immune responses in a clinical trial in people with Alzheimer' s disease.

This vaccine could have potential to slow the development of the disease and fill a major unmet medical need. The World Health Organization says dementia is the fastest-growing global health epidemic and there is no treatment available that alters the course of the disease.

CAD106 targets a fragment of the harmful form of the beta amyloid peptide, the main component of the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. In the Karolinska Institutet study, people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's developed protective antibodies against beta amyloid without any side effects, and the researchers want to carry out larger trials.

According to the company and the Karolinska Institutet, these are the first results to show a positive effect of an active vaccine against Alzheimer's. Development of the first vaccine against beta amyloid, Elan's AN1792, had to be discontinued as it triggered meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and the membranes around the brain), but there were no signs of that in the CAD106 trial.

The agreement between Novartis and Cytos goes back to 2001, and covers a collaboration to develop therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic nervous system disorders.