Roche, the Swiss drug maker is optimistic about formulating drugs for Alzheimer's disease after it received promising results with a similar product from Biogen, a competitor.
Daniel O'Day, Pharmaceuticals head, said that Roche would look again at prospects for two of its experimental Alzheimer's drugs, which suffered setbacks in 2014, in the wake of recent data on Biogen's drug.
Alzheimer's medicine, aducanumab in a small trial showed a significantly slowed cognitive impairment in patients with mild symptoms, which is a rare bit of good news in the midst of high-profile failures from the likes of Pfizer and Eli Lilly.
Aducanumab similar to Roche's experimental product gantenerumab, blocks beta amyloid, a protein that forms toxic brain plaques, the underlying cause of Alzheimer's. Yet the results presented in Biogen's trial contrasts with a late-stage Phase III study with gantenerumab and Roche's Phase II drug crenezumab.
"We're not at a stage where we've made a final decision on those two programs, but we're encouraged because the data that was presented from Biogen showed a concordance between dose level, between plaque removal and between clinical effect," said O'Day.
Current drugs prescribed for Alzheimer's can do no more than ease some of the symptoms rather than delaying the progression of Alzheimer's unlike heart disease and cancer, which have seen major strides in drug development.