Advancing treatments for Alzheimer’s is a top priority for biopharmaceutical companies who are investing billions in the development of new therapies and working collaboratively with the Alzheimer’s community on basic research. Despite this perseverance, Alzheimer’s remains one of the most vexing scientific and medical challenges of our time.
A Summer 2015 PhRMA report found that between 1998 and 2014 a total of 123 medicines to treat Alzheimer’s disease were halted and four were approved.
These daunting numbers demonstrate biopharmaceutical companies’ level of commitment to Alzheimer’s disease research but also the enormity of the challenge.
Researchers are exploring many promising, new approaches to treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. One example is a new class of potential medicines called BACE inhibitors which target the beta-secretase, or BACE, enzyme that breaks down amyloid precursor protein to form beta amyloid, a sticky protein fragment integral to Alzheimer’s disease.
Needless to say, it also had to show a high level of safety.
This process sent researchers back to the drawing board several times. Then they had to find new ways to diagnose the disease, so they could get the potential medicine to the right people. Having done that, researchers would have to prove, through many years of testing, that the molecule is safe and effective for patients.
Today, several companies are getting close to doing just that. In the United States, five BACE inhibitors are in late stage development.
The Alzheimer’s community is watching these trials closely and the many others taking new approaches to fight this terrible disease.
Learn more about how the biopharmaceutical sector is fighting Alzheimer’s here.
Gretta Stone is Deputy Vice President of Policy & Research at PhRMA where she manages a range of issues related to the R&D process, the biopharmaceutical pipeline, the value of medicines, and personalized medicine.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than half a trillion dollars in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $58.8 billion in 2015 alone.
To visit PhRMA’s information-packed blog, The Catalyst, click here.