Aug 18, 2010

Lilly semagacestat Failure Casts Shadow over Amyloid Hypothesis

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

The experimental Alzheimer's drug, semagacestat, from Lilly (LLY) did not improve cognition in a clinical trial and worsened the ability of patients to perform daily activities.

Yesterday, Lilly announced it would no longer develop semagacestat, one of the company’s two Alzheimer’s drugs in the final stage of testing usually required for U.S. regulatory approval.

By my count this is the fourteenth failure. The fourteenth time a potential treatment for Alzheimer's has crashed and burned during a clinical trial.

The short list of drug companies that produced failed clinical trials reads like a Who's Who of pharmacology.

The list includes: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca (AZN), Martek (MATK), Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Pfizer (PFE), Medivation (MDVN), and Myriad Genetics (MYGN).

One has to wonder if amyloid is the right target.

Disappointing and discouraging.

The results produced this expert comment:
“This is definitely going to make people a lot more pessimistic about many drugs” already in late-stage development, P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the biological psychiatry division at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, said in a telephone interview. “This will cast a shadow on those trials as well.”

Dr. Doraiswamy is co-author of -- The Alzheimer's Action Plan.

Allen Roses, director of the Deane Drug Discovery Institute at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, isn’t convinced by the amyloid-based research. He says,
“Alzheimer’s research has overemphasized the amyloid hypothesis for a very long time....When the leading candidates for Alzheimer’s disease appear to fail for one reason or another, to me it’s simply evidence that the hypothesis is not right.”

Read more on Bloomberg.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,690 articles with more than 70,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room