A new drug has been found to reduce memory decline among patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s in a “historic breakthrough” in treating the disease. Results have been reported by Eisai, a Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company that has partnered with U.S. biotech firm Biogen to develop lecanemab. The question is will HCPs trust Biogen?
There is no doubt that Biogen’s reputation has suffered with the failed launch of ADUHELM. The key message in talking with several doctors was, “I’d have to take a serious look at the data.” In trials on 1,795 participants with early Alzheimer’s disease. Lecanemab is designed to target and clear amyloid, one of the proteins that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s at an early stage. The problem is an active debate on whether amyloid is related to Alzheimer’s.
Biogen has been having a bit of a fire sale. They have been selling off real estate in Cambridge, but they have finalized a $900 million settlement resolving a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the biotech company of paying doctors kickbacks to prescribe multiple sclerosis drugs, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
The other issue is going to cost. If Biogen sets a high price in the U.S., Medicare might balk and ask for more data.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the United States, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost $355 billion in 2021, reaching $1.1 trillion in 2050. Therefore, the demand for Alzheimer’s drugs is enormous in the United States, and the world market demand is much greater.
According to the latest report published by Growth Plus Reports, the global Alzheimer’s drug market is expected to clock US$ ~9.67 billion by 2031. It is owing to the rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease coupled with a strong product pipeline. Whoever develops a drug with reliable data will be raking in a lot of money, but any drug developed is sure to be priced in the stratosphere.
Before any drug is developed, a lot of market building will be necessary. There must be a consensus on the causes of Alzheimer’s and possible methods to check and reverse symptoms.