KEY TAKEAWAY: “We still believe that amyloid beta hypothesis is potentially the right approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” an Eisai spokesman told Reuters. What made Wall Street and everyone else, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Roche — have reported out decisive late-stage failures over the last year that all point to one conclusion: Targeting amyloid-beta alone in symptomatic patients may hit your biomarkers on effect, but it doesn’t delay the ruthless march of the disease.
The more I read about Biogen’s failure the more I realize that Wall Street analysts don’t know a damn thing about drug development. Four pharma companies tried before and failed, in their search for an Alzheimers drug targeting amyloid-beta.
As Derek Lowe over at blog science magazine said “Biogen and Eisai put themselves into this situation, although they definitely made it worse by trying to pretend that things were going differently than they have for every single other amyloid antibody program ever. They have all failed. One after another, again and again”.
Will we ever find a cure for Alzheimers?
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the cost of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia comes to about $290 billion a year. The disease is among the top causes of death in the US.
Targeting amyloid-beta is definitely part of the equation but to what extent we have no idea. What’s really needed is a fresh approach to tackling this horrible disease but is the culture of pharma really a good environment to develop and test a new approach. We should also mention that Alzheimer’s is more than just one disease.
Did Biogen mislead investors?
When the dust settles around Biogen’s failure someone needs to do dive into the press releases and facts to determine if Biogen mislead investors. Biogen’s bet on this drug was a hail mary pass but it was a hail mary pass with practically no chance of success.
In this authors opinion Biogen will be sold, in pieces, and will become a distant memory. Their pipeline is non-existent and the good people who helped Biogen get on the map have left or have been let go.
In the end, it’s Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers who lose. We need to get Wall Street out of the equation because they are only interested in money. I can say that if ANY pharma company does reach the top of the mountain on a treatment for Alzheimer’s it’s going to be a HUGE payday as the drug is likely to be priced in the stratosphere.