Amgen and Novartis have closed two studies trying to find drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, dealing another blow to the millions of patients left waiting for a treatment for the neurodegenerative disorder.
The pharmaceutical companies, along with their partner, the research centre Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, said that some patients on the trials had shown a worsening — rather than the hoped for improvement — in cognitive function. They concluded that the potential benefit for participants did not outweigh the risks.
The decision comes after Biogen, a neuroscience-focused biotech company, closed down its Alzheimer’s drug trial with Japanese company Eisai in April, after they found the drug was not going to be effective.
Both trials were targeting the amyloid plaques that build up in the brains of patients and destroy connections between nerve cells. The hypothesis that clearing these plaques has dominated Alzheimer’s research for years — but is now being rethought by many scientists.
David Reese, executive vice-president of research & development at Amgen, said the team was disappointed.
“We still believe amyloid plays an important but complex role in Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “Although the outcomes of the research program did not lead to the results we aimed for, we are committed to sharing our findings to help advance the medical and scientific community one step further toward finding a prevention for this devastating disease.”
The trial focused on a drug known as CNP520 that was designed to inhibit BACE1, an enzyme that plays an important role in the production of amyloid ß.
There are other trials under way at very early stages, looking at a variety of strategies from targeting ‘tau’, twisted proteins that tangle up in the brain; anti-inflammation strategies and the brain’s immune system.
Shares in Novartis fell 1.5 per cent in after-hours trading to $88.98, while Amgen remained flat.
制药公司及其合作伙伴、研究中心 Banner 阿尔茨海默氏症研究所( Banner Alzheimer Institute )表示，一些接受试验的患者在认知功能方面表现出恶化（而非希望的改善）。他们的结论是，参与者的潜在利益并不大于风险。
此前，以神经科学为中心的生物科技公司百健（Biogen）在发现该药无效后，于4月关闭了与日本卫材（Eisai）公司( Eisai )的阿尔茨海默氏症药物试验。
安进（Amgen）负责研发的执行副总裁戴维•里斯( David Reese )表示，该团队感到失望。
试验的重点是一种名为 CNP520的药物，该药物旨在抑制 BACE1，一种在淀粉样蛋白生产中起重要作用的酶。
还有其他一些处于早期阶段的试验正在进行，这些试验着眼于各种策略，从瞄准“ tau ”，扭曲的蛋白质，这些蛋白质缠绕在大脑中；抗炎策略和大脑的免疫系统。