The medical device company's CNS Drug Delivery chief Lisa Shafer told Bloomberg that Medtronic's approach can give pharma companies the inside track on getting their treatments through the blood-brain barrier, offering a straight shot at the beta amyloid buildup that many have targeted.
Alzheimer's drug research has riddled biopharma with some of the worst odds of success in the already risk R&D game. And as the industry feels the sting from recent failures of two Phase III programs aimed at the memory-stealing disease, a U.S. pharma group has revealed the abysmal track record of Alzheimer's drug R&D between 1998 and 2011 with a message that the losses could eventually contribute to big victories as scientists learn from their mistakes.
The Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab failed miserably in one of the biggest Phase III studies of the year. But the drug--once a megablockbuster hopeful at Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer--had an impact on key biomarkers for the disease, leading investigators to urge a major new effort to see if the drug could work to delay the onset of the memory-wasting affliction.
That dark cloud you've been watching form around the late-stage Alzheimer's drug development field has come equipped with a bright silver lining for Roche.
Alzheimer's disease research is at a pivotal point. Researchers are turning away from diagnosed groups and starting to move upstream, anxious to see if new therapies can prevent the disease from occurring or if very early-stage Alzheimer's patients might respond.
At high doses, the oral treatment performed significantly better than a placebo in treating ulcerative colitis in a mid-stage study, offering the prospect of building a major anti-inflammatory franchise.
It's an industry cliché: Drug development involves lots of risk and, of course, huge potential rewards. Yet as Forbes' sharp scribe Matthew Herper points out, developers of the failed IV form of bapineuzumab for Alzheimer's disease might have taken an unwise gamble on large and expensive Phase III trials of the experimental drug after weak signs of efficacy in earlier studies.
A major collapse in the Alzheimer's drug world generated buzz around the pharma industry about what comes next. Eli Lilly, of course, stands alone with a late-stage drug for slowing progression of the memory-thieving illness, now that Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson threw in the towel Monday on a Phase III program for their blockbuster contender bapineuzumab or "bapi."
With the abandonment by Elan, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer of their long-shot Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab, speculation is growing that Elan will be pushed into the arms of Biogen Idec ($BIIB). After all, they share ownership of Elan's only other drug, the successful multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri.
Irish drugmaker Elan fell hard on news that partner Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have iced a late-stage program to develop its experimental Alzheimer's drug bapineuzumab. And the key program's collapse revived speculation about the future of the pharma group with CEO Kelly Martin expected to leave and ongoing buzz about a potential sale of the company.