Alzheimer’s Disease research—and treatment—is big business these days. And research is showing that the condition could start as young as a person’s 20s but, more importantly, that the condition is the result of the development of plaques in the brain. As such, most new treatments are aimed at stopping the development of plaque once doctors are able to find it, to slow the onset of the disease through the reduction of these plaques.
And now Cambridge-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Biogen is working to speed this treatment along.
“By collaborating with regulators through programs like Fast Track, we hope to bring effective treatments to patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease as quickly as possible,” explains Biogen executive vice president and chief medical officer Dr. Alfred Sandrock.
This drug is known as aducanumab and has been found to not only destroy harmful brain plaque associated with the debilitating and devastating memory disease but also to slow the decline of cognitive ability.
In a recent trial, researchers treated 165 people with monthly sessions over the course of one year. They gave each participant different doses of the medication or a placebo to determine if dosage had a significant effect. Indeed, they found that the decline in brain plaque development and memory loss slowing were both linked with dosage strength.
As such, the drug has been put on the fast track to approval, now undergoing phase III trials. Doctors say that this phase will help to determine how effective the drug might be in larger patient populations.
If it is successful, it will be released as the first Alzheimer’s treatment to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in more than ten years.
And, more importantly, it could be a boon for Biogen and open up an entirely new of research and development in the pharmaceuticals industry.
If successful, it would be the first Alzheimer’s treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration in over a decade. Indeed, Biogen analyst and RBC Capital Markets managing director Michael Yee comments that should this drug prove effective it would boost Biogen’s struggling bottom line, which had been wavering since the dramatic slowing of sales for its multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera. Yee continues, “It’s a huge potential value-creator for Biogen and shareholders. It could double the company’s revenues.”