- Sembragiline, a joint development project for Alzheimer's disease from Roche and Evotec, did not demonstrate cognitive benefit in treated patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) after 52 weeks.
- This is the second AD drug failure for Roche in the last two years, including gantenerumab, which failed late last year.
- Evotec is still dedicated to CNS R&D, and has more than 70 CNS-related products at various stages of development in their portfolio, according to Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler.
The R&D landscape for AD is littered with failures, more than 100 in the last 15 years. Yet companies continue to pursue the holy grail of AD R&D—a treatment that actually slows, or even reverses, the progression of disease. Currently, the only available treatments address the symptoms of AD, whle the underlying disease progresses unabated.
Roche and Evotec are two of several companies facing relatively recent AD development failures. For example, both Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson had AD drug candidates that failed in phase III last year—solanezumab and bapineuzumab.
However, companies such as Biogen and Avoxant are both moving forward with their drug candidates, with Biogen's drug, BIIB037, showing some real promise in slowing cognitive decline (although it comes with some pretty heavy side effects). At the moment, the prevailing knowledge base suggests that the easiest patients to treat are those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the earliest stage of the disease.