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Race For A New Alzheimer's Drug


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions, and is the most common form of dementia among people age 65 and older.

An estimated 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, and this number is projected to rise as high as 16 million by 2050. Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer's Association.

The FDA-approved medications to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include:

-- Donepezil, marketed under the brand name Aricept, to treat all stages of the disease
-- Galantamine, marketed under the brand name Razadyne, for mild-to-moderate stages
-- Memantine, marketed under the brand name Namenda, and Memantine/Donepezil combo drug, marketed under the brand name Namzaric, to treat moderate to severe stages
-- Rivastigmine, marketed under the brand name Exelon, for all stages of Alzheimer's.

No new Alzheimer's drug has been approved since 2003 - the year, in which Forest Labs' Namenda was approved in the U.S.

The development of Alzheimer's drugs has been marred by a high failure rate. A U.S. study, which analyzed how the Alzheimer's clinical trials fared during the period of 2002 to 2012, revealed a failure rate of 99.6% compared to a failure rate of 81% for cancer drugs.

Let's take a look at some of the U.S.-listed biotech companies, whose Alzheimer's drug candidates are currently in phase III testing.

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