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New Alzheimer’s drug could pay off

Janet Babin Jun 17, 2008
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New Alzheimer’s drug could pay off

Janet Babin Jun 17, 2008
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Scott Jagow: How much would you pay for a drug that could treat or prevent Alzheimer’s? I think I’d probably pay quite a bit. Unfortunately, we don’t have that choice yet. But two drug companies say they’re getting closer. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.


Janet Babin: The new drug has a tongue twister of a name: It’s called bapineuzumab. It’s from drug companies Elan and Wyeth. It works by attacking the plaque deposits associated with Alzheimer’s.

It showed the most promise in people without an inherited Alzheimer’s marker — that’s about 60 percent of us. If the final trial goes well, sales of bapineuzumab could hit $13 billion.

But analyst Eric Snyder with Mehta Partners says there are some risks. Bapineuzumab works by putting antibodies into the brain:

Eric Snyder: Normally ,antibodies are not present in the brain, so the very fact that you’re putting an antibody into the brain in a very unnatural process. And as a result, the brain will have an inflammation.

In a previous trial, there were several cases of fluid on the brain at higher doses. Full results about bapineuzumab will come at an Alzheimer’s conference next month. The final stage trials won’t be completed for at least two years.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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