- Novartis and Amgen announced on Tuesday that the companies will join forces to develop an oral BACE inhibitor-based treatment to address Alzheimer's disease (AD). In addition, the team will focus on migraine-related R&D.
- BACE inhibitors block beta secretase, an enzyme involved in the production of beta-amyloid.
- Eli Lilly, Biogen and Roche are involved in development of injectable antibody-based, anti-amyloid treatments.
The quest for an AD cure—or at leat a more effective treatment option that currently available therapies—continues to drive researchers to investigate different approaches.
The prevailing theory, the amyloid hypothesis, has received some support in early-stage studies, including a trial conducted by Biogen for aducanumab. Nonetheless, there is still a great deal of work to be done considering mixed results for investigational Alzheimer's treatments released by both Biogen and Eli Lilly in July.
Novartis' lead candidate is CNP530, which is in phase I/II. The upcoming study for this compound will focus on patients with early-stage AD (mild cognitive impairment, or MCI), as well as patients with demonstrated genetic risk. While Merck has a BACE inhibitor further along in development (phase III), Novartis is confident that its compound has a very good profile because of less fluid build-up—a common side effect in this class.
The team will also work on developing Amgen's lead migraine compounds, AMG 334 and AMG 301, under the auspices of the collaboration. The companies have structured deals in which they share various development costs, as well as commercial rights both inside and outside of the U.S.