The search for an Alzheimer’s disease cure has been dogged by pharmaceutical failures, but a network of the world’s top dementia scientists released a report on Sunday saying that the number of drugs making it to phase two and phase three of clinical trials encourages them to believe that a blockbuster may be among compounds in the current development pipeline.
“The topline is the numbers,” said UsAgainstAlzheimer’s acting president Drew Holzapfel. “Almost 100 drugs are in the final stages of drug development. … Despite so much national news about failures this year.”
The number of drugs in phase two clinical trials has increased 17 percent over the past year, from 58 to 68 drugs, according to the report from nonprofit UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and its affiliate of top scientists, ResearchersAgainstAlzheimer’s. The group forecasts eight of those drugs could make it to the market over the next five years.
While the researchers focused on the positives, the report’s overall findings don’t represent a massive change in Alzheimer’s drug landscape. The eight drugs in phase two trials that could come to market is consistent with 2017 report’s forecast for potential market entrants. And the twenty-five Alzheimer’s drugs in phase three testing that are predicted to launch in the next five years represents a 7 percent decline from the 2017 level, according to the report. The overall number of phase three drugs declined by three percent year over year.
Holzapfel said that while the number of drugs in phase three declined, the small level of the decline is encouraging. Given the number of failures in the recent past he reads it is a positive that those running trials are not pulling back more significantly. And the increase in the phase two trials also indicates the potential for a larger phase three pipeline in the near future.