treatments for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) are only able to ease symptoms
temporarily, tau-based vaccines may offer a new and more effective way to treat
AD in the early course of the disease, says an analyst with research and
consulting firm GlobalData.
According to Kyle S.
Nicholson, PharmD, GlobalData's Analyst covering Neurology, tau-based therapies
for AD have traditionally been overlooked in favor of passive beta amyloid
immunotherapies, such as Eli Lilly's solanezumab and Roche's gantenerumab and
interest appears to be receding after notable setbacks in recent years, and
tau-based immunotherapies now have the potential to capture larger patient
shares than these products.
"Tau is one of two peptides linked to AD, and is known for forming tangles of
neuronal fibers inside the brain and causing cellular death. The other abnormal
protein believed to cause damage that leads to AD is beta amyloid."
"Doubts are starting
to arise over whether or not the removal of beta amyloid will affect a
patient's cognitive status. Given that tau-related pathology might occur before
beta amyloid becomes implicated, a tau-based approach may have a greater chance
of eliciting measurable effects earlier in the disease's progression."
The analyst notes
that Johnson & Johnson and AC Immune have already entered into a three-year
agreement to develop and commercialize tau-based immunotherapies for AD. These
include ACI-35, which is currently in Phase IIb trials and positioned to be the
first-in-class phosphorylated tau proteins vaccine inhibitor.
adds: "Despite its potential first-in-class status, ACI-35 will encounter significant
competition from disease-modifying passive immunotherapies and oral
beta-secretase inhibitors, which will start populating the market in 2018."
AstraZeneca/Eli Lilly's AZD-3293 and Merck & Co.'s MK-8931 to capture over
15% of the global AD space by 2023. ACI-35 will therefore likely enter a highly
competitive arena several years after the beta amyloid therapies have already
taken a significant patient share," the analyst concludes.