Lundbeck Mulls Alzheimer's Combo Therapy in Wake of Drug Failure

H. Lundbeck A/S is looking at ways to develop combination therapies for Alzheimer’s disease as the Danish brain-disorder specialist presses forward despite recent failures in late-stage patient trials.

It’s unlikely any one method alone will show a “radical” difference in Alzheimer’s, and so Lundbeck is open to working with other drugmakers as well as combining its own treatments, research and development chief Anders Gersel Pedersen said in an interview. 

The company is deciding how best to go forward on an experimental therapy for Alzheimer’s that is part of a group of drugs known as BACE inhibitors, after a similar project from Merck & Co. failed a high-profile patient trial earlier this month. Lundbeck’s compound is close to being ready for study in humans. 

“If it makes sense, I’m sure we can find ways of doing this right, either with the two compounds we have or compounds together with others,” Pedersen said.

The Danish company faced its own failure in Alzheimer’s this month, halting development of a medicine meant to ease symptoms of the debilitating brain disease. The drug, idalopirdine, was unsuccessful in a trio of trials. Though there are a few medicines already on the market to ease symptoms of Alzheimer’s, they only work for about six months -- and there are no treatments to halt the progression of the disease.

Lundbeck is planning to start patient trials on a tau antibody, a different experimental strategy against Alzheimer’s, next year, Pedersen said. It already has one medicine in patient trials, a vaccine partnered with Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. The partners also expect two final-stage trial readouts in the next six months from Rexulti, a drug being tested to curtail agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.

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