The pharmaceutical company Roche has announced that two phase III trials of the potential Alzheimer’s drug gantenerumab did not achieve the goal of slowing clinical decline in participants with early Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“People with Alzheimer’s disease desperately need better treatment options, so it’s extremely disappointing when a potential drug doesn’t produce the benefits we were hoping to see.
“The drug’s manufacturer, Roche will soon be presenting the results from this trial, and this will allow the research community to learn from them, to help inform future Alzheimer’s drug development.
“Gantenerumab is one of several drugs that has been designed to remove the hallmark Alzheimer’s protein, amyloid, from the brains of people in the very early stages of the disease.
“Earlier this year a final stage trial of a different anti-amyloid drug, called lecanemab, successfully cleared amyloid from the brain and slowed the decline in participants’ memory and thinking skills. Looked at together, data from the lecanemab and gantenerumab trials will yield important insights as to why one anti-amyloid drug worked better than the other, and this will help further refine this approach to treating people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alzheimer’s disease is complex, and potential drugs that target other aspects of the disease are also making their way through clinical trials. There are over 140 potential Alzheimer’s drugs in clinical trials – the majority of which target proteins or processes other than amyloid. While anti-amyloid drugs are perhaps the closest to making it to patients, they are not the only hope for effective new treatments.
“It is now absolutely critical that the UK government delivers on its promise to double dementia research funding to £160m a year by 2024. This will help to put UK dementia research at the forefront of the global search for life-changing treatments, and pave the way for more breakthroughs that will transform the lives of people with dementia and their families across the UK.”