Eli Lilly’s $2bn deal highlights the increased focus on anti-tau therapies for Alzheimer’s disease

Following the news (12th December 2018) that AC Immune and Eli Lilly have signed a collaboration agreement to research and develop tau aggregation inhibitors for the potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and other neurodegenerative diseases,

Alessio Brunello, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The amyloid hypothesis has been the central theory for the pathogenesis of AD, but all Aβ-targeting drugs treating AD have ended in failure, as AD drug development is considered to have one of the highest failure rates of all indications. Eli Lilly suffered many clinical failures on its candidates in the past.

“The anti-amyloid therapies have had limited success and the industry is shifting to other methods of treatment such as anti-tau therapies. This trend is confirmed also by the recent collaboration between Eisai and University College London (UCL) in the development of the first investigational drug candidate from their drug discovery, known as E2814, an anti-tau monoclonal antibody that is designed to slow the progression of AD and other tauopathies.

“Key opinion leaders (KOLs) interviewed for GlobalData’s report: ‘Alzheimer’s Disease: Dynamic market Forecast to 2026’ were enthusiastic about the anti-tau monoclonal antibodies, as they are seen as a new potential therapeutic intervention, even though it will take several years before we know if tau immunotherapies are efficacious in slowing the progression of tauopathies.

“There are currently eight clinical trials ongoing on tau immunotherapies, four in Phase II and four in Phase I, and several more in late-stage preclinical development. These trials aim to prove that tau clearance will apply in human tauopathies.

“No new drug for AD has been approved in the past 16 years, despite more than 400 clinical trials and billions of dollars being spent in an attempt to tackle the disease. Pharma companies and researchers understand the necessity and importance to look beyond amyloid approaches to treat the most significant unmet needs in AD.”

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