Biogen and Eisai drop Alzheimer BACE inhibitor treatment

In another blow to the BACE inhibitor category, Biogen and Eisai have dropped the trials for elenbecestat due to the Data Safety Monitory Board finding that the drug had an ‘unfavorable’ risk-benefit ratio.

This news comes after similar results were reported with Amgen and Novartis after they abandoned phase 2/3 studies of BACE1 inhibitor as some participants found their condition worsening than those on placebo. Merck&Co, Janssen and Eli-lily have also reported similar trends with their results regarding BACE inhibitors.

BACE inhibitors target the beta amyloid cleaving enzyme (BACE) which plays a role in the production of beta amyloid peptides. The hope was that reducing the production of beta amyloid peptides would reduce amyloid plaques formations in the brain and thus slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

The two pharma companies now only have one amyloid-targeting drug left in their pipeline, which will proceed unaffected from the current result read-out. However, there is a growing consensus that the ‘amyloid hypothesis’ of targeting beta amyloid has all but been exhausted. With companies now putting in the effort/funds to targeting other mechanisms of the disease. 

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