Could Biogen's Alzheimer's therapy become a breakthrough?
- In an early, phase 1 study of BIIB037 in 194 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early signs of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Biogen Idec researchers were surprised when they saw statistically significant improvements in cognition at the one-year mark.
- BIIB037 is an anti-beta amyloid monoclonal antibody.
- Since the results were announced in December, Biogen Idec's stock has risen roughly 34%, resulting in a $5 billion increase in market capitalization, EP Vantage reports.
The excitement surrounding BIIB037 is driven by the fact that more than 100 AD therapies in development have failed in the last 15 years. In addition, the fact that the researchers saw changes in cognition points at something beyond mere observation of CT scans showing changes in beta-amyloid deposits. This truly represents a step forward in terms of AD R&D. The results are especially important, because scientists have determined that the best time to treat AD is in the early MCI stages.
Nonetheless, the research, clinical, and investment communities are waiting for more information on the phase 1 interim results, which will be unveiled a the International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in Nice, France on March 20.
With 5.2 million Americans currently affected by AD, the number of people affected is only expected to grow. In fact, by 2050, the Alzheimer's Association estimates that 16 million Americans will have AD.