AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly to Partner on Risky New Alzheimer’s Drug
AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly announced on Tuesday a partnership to jointly develop a risky experimental Alzheimer’s drug, which could potentially bring in as much as $5 billion in sales each year however AstraZeneca have been quick to play down the chances of success by saying that they believe the drug only has a 9% chance of success.
Under the terms of the risk sharing agreement. Lilly have agreed to pay AZ a maximum of $500 million if the drug successfully passes through clinical trials and gains regulatory approval. The two companies will share development and commercialisation costs and also any future revenues the drug potentially generates.
AstraZeneca have developed a drug called “BACE inhibitor“, this drug is in an experimental class with the aim of the drug is to stop the body from developing protein fragments called beta amyloid. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and patients with the disease have clumps of these protein fragments in their brain. It is hoped that the progression of the disease can be slowed down by stopping these protein clumps from forming.
AstraZeneca are not alone in trying this specific approach, as Merck is also working on a experimental BACE inhibitor and are currently further along in development when compared to AstraZenecas counterpart.
AstraZeneca firm said its drug had significantly reduced levels of beta amyloid in the spinal fluid of patients in very early human trials. AstraZeneca and Lilly are eager to hurry it into late-stage clinical trials with patients in the early stages of the disease.
After reports of how much Alzheimer’s costs Britain as a nation each year around £26 billion and no clear cure insight, this news stands in good stead. The partnership is a very cautious sign of optimism for the new drug, with Eli Lilly being among the most active big pharmaceutical investors in Alzheimer’s research and also take the lead of the new drug development. AstraZeneca will be responsible for the manufacturing of the new drug.
Industry optimism is still very small after seeing years of expensive Alzheimer’s drugs failing. A recent study in the Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy journal found a success rate of just 0.4% for drugs in this field that were developed between 2002 and 2012.
“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest challenges facing medical science today,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president for innovative medicines and early development at AstraZeneca.
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