Lundbeck tracks down suitors for Alzheimer's drug

H. Lundbeck CEO Ulf Wiinberg wasted no time after the ugly outcome of Pfizer's ($PFE) bapineuzumab trials to talk up the prospects of the Danish drugmaker's own Alzheimer's drug candidate. In an interview with Bloomberg, Wiinberg said that his company has generated interest from "several" potential suitors to help advance the contender.

As pharma players worldwide hunt for drugs to move in the blockbuster Alzheimer's market, Lundbeck offers a candidate in mid-stage trials called AE58054. The experimental drug homes in on 5-HT6 receptors to boost chemicals linked with cognition, rather than target a suspected cause of the common memory-stealing disease as bapineuzumab and Eli Lilly's solanezumab do, Bloomberg reports.

"The goal of bapineuzumab was disease modification, and that's obviously very attractive, but now with the results that we have announced, this may be one of the lead compounds in Alzheimer's development," Wiinberg told the news wire. His group has found "a lot of companies being very interested, and now we are having discussions."

Lundbeck is hungry for new products with sales of its marquee antidepressant Lexapro in the toilet this year because of generic rivals. And last month the FDA denied approval of the drugmaker and partner Otsuka's extended-release version of the blockbuster antipsychotic Abilify. But Lundbeck isn't the only act in town with memory-improving drug for Alzheimer's patients.

Watertown, MA-based EnVivo Pharmaceuticals succeeded in a mid-stage trial this summer and plans to advance to Phase III study's with its drug EVP-6124, a alpha-7 agonist, for improving cognition. Like Lundbeck, EnVivo hasn't yet found a partner for the experimental drug.

- read Bloomberg's article