Alzheimer’s drug fails again

Liam Gowen, BBC News, Boston

Biogen Inc’s latest test of its Alzheimer’s disease drug does not seem to be working.

The company said the drug, aducanumab, failed to help improve cognitive or physical function in patients on a phase three trial.

Earlier that year, a similar trial by Merck and Co also failed to improve cognition in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, made for sobering reading for the drug developers, who also happen to be among the biggest players in the Alzheimer’s drug market.

In the latest study, it showed patients taking the drug saw some improvements in several memory symptoms, such as poor recall of new information. But those improvements stopped at the level of normal.

And, the independent assessments of cognition and physical functions in the patients failed to improve, Biogen said.

The company said additional analyses showed data from earlier trials in both Alzheimer’s patients with mild to moderate symptoms and those with early stage disease could be used as the basis for applications in those groups.

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