Zurich The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has to cope with another research setback with a new Alzheimer’s drug. The experimental drug gantenerumab failed to slow cognitive and functional decline in patients with early-stage disease in two large phase III clinical trials, the drugmaker said on Monday. This failed to achieve the main goals of two studies called “graduates”.
RocheShares in Zurich slipped by up to 5.7 percent and headed for the biggest daily loss in six months. The renewed setback in Alzheimer’s research at his partner burdened Morphosys. The biotech company’s shares fell by around 25 percent at the opening on Monday and, at EUR 15.70, were as cheap as they were eleven years ago.
A trader judged that this was also a severe blow for Morphosys. Because gantenerumab was once developed by Morphosys, Roche acquired the rights to the antibody in 2000 and has been fully responsible for clinical development and possible marketing ever since.
“While the graduate results do not meet our expectations, we are proud to have delivered a high quality, clear and comprehensive data set on Alzheimer’s disease and we look forward to sharing our findings as we continue to search for new treatment options.” for this complex disease,” said Roche Head of Development Levi Garraway.
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The Basel group will continue to work on the development and provision of tests that enable an early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. In addition, Roche has a pipeline of investigational drugs with different approaches to combating the disease.
Results also with implications for other products
The study participants treated with gantenerumab had shown a slowdown in the deterioration of performance in areas such as memory, orientation skills, problem-solving skills, hobbies and personal hygiene. However, these results were not statistically significant.
In addition, the breakdown of amyloid beta, the protein that builds up in plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, was lower than expected. Roche will present the results of the studies at a conference on November 30th. Previously, the company’s Alzheimer’s drug crenezumab had failed to slow or prevent cognitive decline in certain Alzheimer’s patients.
The data on the effectiveness of gantenerumab had been eagerly awaitedafter recently the drug lecanemab from the US biotechnology group biogenic and its Japanese partner Eisai in clinical tests with patients in the early stages of the disease had significantly slowed down cognitive and functional decline – a rare success in Alzheimer’s research.
The Roche drug follows the same treatment approach, removing deposits of the protein beta-amyloid from the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.