On Monday, Pfizer announced the first of four expected sets of results for its Alzheimer’s drug bapineuzumab. As Steven Romano, head of the company’s Medicines Development Group said in a release, Pfizer is “disappointed”: the drug had no effect on the cognition or day-to-day functioning of patients with the largest known genetic risk for the late-stage onset form of the disease (ApoE4 carriers).
Bapineuzumab is an antibody—a protein that selectively grabs onto a specific protein—that recognizes beta-amyloid, the protein that forms tell-tale plaques in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains (see “Brain Scan for Alzheimer’s”). Because they riddle the brains of patients with the disease, amyloid plaques are one of the major suspects in the enigmatic disease. However, whether these plaques are an instigator of Alzheimer’s or a byproduct of the disease is still a major question for the field.
The company will continue with its trials in patients who do not carry the ApoE4 genetic variant. Results are expected later this summer.