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Alzheimer's Disease: Clinical Pipelines, R&D Challenges, and Future Directions

  • ID: 3068404
  • Report
  • June 2012
  • Region: Global
  • Insight Pharma Reports


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Archer Pharmaceuticals
  • Cortex Pharmaceuticals
  • EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
  • Noscira
  • Roche

Alzheimer’s disease is an extraordinarily active realm of research, with nearly 100 products in clinical development and many more at the discovery and preclinical stages. The competition in this arena is fierce, but the company that produces the next innovative compound for Alzheimer’s disease will earn a rich return on its investment.

This report provides a detailed assessment of Alzheimer’s disease and examines:

  •  Alzheimer’s disease pathology, causes, methods of diagnosis, and epidemiology
  •  Current pharmacologic treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease
  •  The wide range of Alzheimer’s disease therapy approaches at the investigational stage
  •  The numerous molecular targets being explored for their potential to alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease
  •  R&D challenges in advancing Alzheimer’s disease drugs through the clinical pipeline
  •  Future directions in Alzheimer’s disease research

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common chronic neurodegenerative disease, is a progressive, incurable condition characterized by cognitive impairment. The efficacy of available treatment options is very limited. This, in combination with the huge potential market for Alzheimer’s disease-more than 5 million patients in the United States alone suffer from the disease, and this figure is increasing with every decade-has placed Alzheimer’s disease prominently in the sights of pharmaceutical companies trying to come up with new and improved drugs.

Developing effective drugs for Alzheimer’s disease has been and continues to be challenging. Alzheimer’s disease attacks the most complex and least understood region of the human anatomy: the nervous system. Researchers have figured out different aspects of the mechanisms of the disease, but are unsure how the various pieces fit together into pathogenic pathways. As a result, drug development has been slow and painstaking, with numerous incremental advancements and more than a few reversals. Alzheimer’s disease research has been stung by the recent setbacks of several novel compounds in late-stage clinical trials. The class of drugs that has suffered the most drastic loss in status since its hopeful entry into the clinic about a decade ago is the gamma-secretase inhibitors, following the failure of the front-running candidate, semagacestat, in Phase III in 2010.

There are a multitude of ideas about interventions that might arrest the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, a broad range of molecular targets are being explored. The therapies under evaluation include those aimed at compensating for the loss or dysfunction of neurotransmitters involved in cognition; those that intervene in the process of amyloid-beta production and aggregation; and others that target, for example, tau pathology, neuroprotection, cholesterol and energy homeostasis, and second messenger modulation.

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Archer Pharmaceuticals
  • Cortex Pharmaceuticals
  • EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
  • Noscira
  • Roche

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Alzheimer’s Disease: Background and Pathology
2.1. Pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease
2.2. Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
2.3. Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
2.4. Epidemiology of Alzheimer’s Disease

Chapter 3: Current Pharmacologic Treatment Options
3.1. Cholinesterase InhibitorsAricept (Donepezil HCl)
Exelon (Rivastigmine Tartrate)
Razadyne (Galantamine HBr)
3.2. NMDA Receptor AntagonistsNamenda (Memantine HCl)
3.3. Other Treatments

Chapter 4: Compounds in Development: The Next Generation of Drugs for AD

4.1. Cholinergic DysfunctionAstraZeneca/Targacept
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
Abbott Laboratories
Anavex Life Sciences

4.2. Glutamatergic DysfunctionServier/Cortex Pharmaceuticals
AC Immune
Addex Therapeutics4.3. Serotonergic DysfunctionNanotherapeutics
Abbott Laboratories
Suven Life Sciences
Biotie Therapies/Roche
4.4. Histaminergic Dysfunction
4.5. Amyloid Cascade: Inhibiting ProductionBristol Myers-Squibb
Chiesi Farmaceutici
AC Immune
ExonHit Therapeutics
Sonexa Therapeutics
QR Pharma
Medisyn Technologies
Eli Lilly
Roche/Siena Biotech
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
High Point Pharmaceuticals
Cellzome/Johnson & Johnson
NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals
Cortica Neurosciences
4.6. Amyloid Cascade: Stimulating RemovalPfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Eli Lilly
Roche/Genentech/AC Immune
Novartis/Cytos Biotechnology
United Biomedical
Merck/Acumen Pharmaceuticals/Merz Pharma
BioArctic Neuroscience/Eisai
Biogen Idec/Neurimmune Therapeutics
Boehringer Ingelheim/Ablynx
Intellect Neurosciences
Araclon Biotech
ArmaGen Technologies
TransTech Pharma
4.7. Amyloid Cascade: Preventing AggregationPrana Biotechnology
Bellus Health
Elan/Transition Therapeutics/Proteostasis Therapeutics
Archer Pharmaceuticals
AC Immune
NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals
4.8. Tau PathologyTauRx Pharmaceuticals
Allon Therapeutics
Bristol-Myers Squibb
AC Immune
Intellect Neurosciences
Signum Biosciences/GlaxoSmithKline
4.9. NeuroprotectionNewron Pharmaceuticals
4.10. NeurorestorationCeregene
Enkam Pharmaceuticals
4.11. Cholesterol and Energy HomeostasisTakeda Pharmaceutical/Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals
Metabolic Solutions Development
4.12. Second Messenger Modulation
4.13. Stem Cell Therapy

Chapter 5: Conclusion

Challenges and Future Directions


Company Index

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • AC Immune
  • AFFiRiS/GlaxoSmithKline
  • Allon Therapeutics
  • Anavex Life Sciences
  • Araclon Biotech
  • Archer Pharmaceuticals
  • ArmaGen Technologies
  • Bellus Health
  • BioArctic Neuroscience/Eisai
  • Biogen Idec/Neurimmune Therapeutics
  • Biotie Therapies/Roche
  • Boehringer Ingelheim/Ablynx
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Cellzome/Johnson & Johnson
  • Chiesi Farmaceutici
  • Cortex Pharmaceuticals
  • Cortica Neurosciences
  • D-Pharm
  • Eisai
  • Elan/Transition Therapeutics/Proteostasis Therapeutics
  • Eli Lilly
  • Enkam Pharmaceuticals
  • EnVivo Pharmaceuticals
  • ExonHit Therapeutics
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • High Point Pharmaceuticals
  • Intellect Neurosciences
  • Medisyn Technologies
  • Merck
  • Merck/Acumen Pharmaceuticals/Merz Pharma
  • NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals
  • NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals
  • Noscira
  • Novartis/Cytos Biotechnology
  • NsGene
  • Oligomerix
  • Probiodrug
  • ProteoTech
  • QR Pharma
  • Roche
  • Sanofi-Aventis
  • Senexis
  • Sonexa Therapeutics
  • Suven Life Sciences
  • TransTech Pharma
  • United Biomedical
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown