The big biotech worked a deal with Eisai, offering to cover half of the research and development costs of a pair of mid-stage Alzheimer's therapies and adding an unspecified package of milestones and an upfront in exchange for half the potential profits.
The healthcare burdens of aging populations have traditionally been a Western problem, but rising life expectancy in emerging markets has caused the pressures to spread around the world. In India, the co-founder of IT services firm Infosys has responded by funding a brain and computing research center to improve the health of the 100 million citizens aged over 60.
Crossing the blood-brain barrier is notoriously difficult, but overcoming that obstacle can have vast implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's, Huntington's and brain cancer. Now researchers at Roche have developed an antibody-based technique to "shuttle" large molecules into the brain, increasing exposure to the drug.
The Switzerland-based biotech has raised $22 million from German billionaire Dietmar Hopp and other backers to advance its Alzheimer's vaccine candidate, ACI-35, into clinical trials.
The game attempts to assess whether someone has Alzheimer's by evaluating how well they respond to distractions and interruptions.
When it comes to Alzheimer's research, success stories are few and far between. Therapeutic programs center around vaccines and drugs, but Akili Interactive Labs wants to change all that: The Boston-based startup recently signed a deal with Pfizer to see if its mobile video game platform can help diagnose early signs of Alzheimer's.
When Roche reviewed its big drug pipeline last fall, the pharma giant started its review of an ambitious and wide-ranging set of programs for Alzheimer's disease with a mention of RG7129, an early-stage BACE inhibitor that held the promise of preventing the production of amyloid beta, the toxic protein that figures prominently among the likely causes of Alzheimer's.
The vaccine, which is designed to work through early inhibition of amyloid beta depositions, is due to enter Phase I trials next year.
To deliver large proteins past the blood-brain barrier for the treatment of Alzheimer's, researchers have developed a compound that acts as a molecular "crossing guard" for drugs to safely target brain cells and clear plaques believed to cause symptoms of the disease.
The pharma giant is recruiting new patients while expanding the program with a new Phase III study for early-stage patients--without changing the dosing regimen.