Biomarkers can fix 'damaged' drug pipeline

A group of Alzheimer's disease experts has advice for the pharmaceutical industry. Research into biomarkers is making it increasingly possible to determine whether a person might develop Alzheimer's disease--perhaps even decades in advance. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances are of being able to delay its symptoms or at least prepare for them. PharmaTimes caught up with a group of Alzheimer's experts in an article headlined: "Biomarkers the way forward for pharma."

Professor Simon Lovestone, director of research at King's College London, said the drug pipeline is "damaged" now due to failures to predict "toxic" patient outcomes. Just say the word "Vioxx" and everybody knows what Lovestone is talking about. Use of biomarkers can help, he said.

"Biomarkers can also help with the measurement and efficacy of clinical trials and there's good evidence that work with biomarkers is demonstrating new areas for therapies," Lovestone added.

GE Healthcare's Chris Buckley told PharmaTimes that biomarkers can be especially useful in Alzheimer's, as current treatments focus primarily on later stages of the disease. "Where a biomarker would be clinically useful at the moment is to predict the progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease," Buckley explained. "An ideal biomarker would be a quantitative objective measure that links the causal path between the underlying pathology and clinical presentation."

- read the story in PharmaTimes