Pharma Finally Pivots After Pouring Billions Into Amyloid-Targeting Alzheimer’s Drugs That Went Nowhere
The industry has long-focused on the amyloid protein but after 190 drugs failed in human trials, researchers are starting to look at tau, another protein which spreads through the brain as Alzheimer’s progresses.
After 190 Tries, Are We Any Closer To A Cure For Alzheimer’s?
Eli Lilly has spent almost three decades working on drugs for Alzheimer’s disease with not much to show for it yet. This year the company began human tests using a totally new approach. Its latest drug targets an aberrant protein called tau that spreads through the brain as Alzheimer’s progresses, accumulating in telltale tangles that strangle brain cells. (Langreth and Koons, 6/27)
In other pharmaceutical news —
Pharma's Cold Brexit Comfort
Biotech and pharma are theoretically defensive stock sectors in times of turmoil -- people don't suddenly stop needing drugs, even in a financial crisis. Sure enough, on Day One of a possible Brexit-fueled European apocalypse, shares of U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline, which benefits from a weak pound, actually rose in London trading. Johnson & Johnson, the safest of the safe, pharma-wise, fell only about 1 percent. But a closer look at the arguments in favor of buying drug stocks, already having rough year, is less comforting. (Nisen, 6/24)
‘Painful … Power Vacuum’ Coming For European Medicines Agency
The British vote to leave the EU creates a massive power vacuum at the London-based European Medicines Agency, with one agency management board member calling it a disaster. Health officials throughout Europe had widely backed staying in the bloc. The vote now sets off a race for a new home for the agency, which gives pharmaceutical companies a one stop shop to have their drugs approved and marketed throughout the block. (Paravicini, Paun and Collis, 6/24)
The Associated Press:
Senator Renews Scrutiny Of Pharma Ties On Federal Panel
A high-ranking Senate Democrat is pushing for more answers on why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry came to serve on a panel that advises the federal government on pain issues. Sen. Ron Wyden says he is "even more concerned" about these apparent conflicts of interest after receiving a response from the National Institutes of Health, which vetted and selected the panel members. (6/24)
California Drug Price Measure Fiercely Opposed By Pharmaceutical Industry
Drugmakers are waging a fierce campaign against a proposed California law that would require them to justify the costs of their treatments and disclose major price hikes. The bill has widespread support of health care providers, insurers, patients, labor and business groups. But the pharmaceutical industry is behind scathing social media messaging, warning that passage of the bill could lead to shortages of crucial drugs in some parts of the state. The industry is also applying other pressure to change the language of the bill. (Bartolone, 6/24)