A Measure of Hope
One company, out of the many that have failed in the quest to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s, is projecting it will be ready to go to market with a pill in three to five years.
Four years ago, US biotech Alzheon took a gamble on a treatment thinking it saw potential. Now, it has some positive data to back up its view with some optimistic projections.
Alzheon Chief Executive Officer Martin Tolar said recent discoveries suggest a potential protective role against the formation of beta-amyloid oligomers that cause neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
The Med – Tech Team
Tolar describes Alzheon as a technology company founded six years ago by a group who has worked on Alzheimer’s disease for over 20 years. Each had a decade of experience in big pharma and then another decade in technology and they were able to simplify the problem of solving the Alzheimer’s puzzle by focusing on very high-risk patients based on their genetic background. By focusing on those patients really allowed them to understand what is the toxin that’s causing the disease and how they can prevent it from forming.
He says, “the company has learned an enormous amount about how to treat Alzheimer’s when to treat it, who to treat with the right approach. They have also learned why the previous treatment has failed and they are able to apply it to the current research and development.” “That really brought us to the forefront of the effort and that’s why we’re now the national frontrunner.”
Despite their successes, Tolar views it with sadness, ” I mean the tragedy is that there were tens of billions of dollars spent on research and development and there’s nothing to show for it. There’s just a handful of programs in various stages of development. But dozens and dozens of them went away.”
And he says a cure looks a long way off.
“I mean this is the closest it can be. It’s going to be very similar to how we treat cardiovascular disease. We see people in their 40s and 50s the biggest risk for Alzheimer’s as-is for other disorders of age and we say you know this is your time in history. This is your age. This is your genetic risk factors and these are some of the biomarkers and you need to be treated now or in 10 years. And what have you decided on the interventions we can make.
Because my belief is that we will be able to prevent Alzheimer’s. ”
Banking on Hope
Despite all the titles and achievements, Tolar confides in hope that a discovery will be made.
“So I think for the fields that are left we really need to tell people again there’s hope. We know what to do. We’re working on it. And with our fingers crossed we’ll have it. We will have an effective treatment that can change the course of the disease, slow it or stop it within the next four to five years.”
Despite the signs of hope, Tolar reminds everyone, it’s a huge problem. He believes society is facing two things. Global warming and Alzheimer’s. He says both can really derail a lot of things so we’re going to have to get together around this issue and support the remaining players that actually can make a difference.