The War on Alzheimer’s: Progress and Challenges of Biopharmaceutical Research

Bill Chin, M.D.
Bill Chin, M.D. July 15, 2015

The War on Alzheimer’s: Progress and Challenges of Biopharmaceutical Research.

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Catalyst_Promo4Alzheimer’s disease steals memories, relationships and independence. It is a ruthless, devastating disease ravaging more than 5 million people in the United States alone, and is the sixth-leading cause of death among Americans.

It also has no cure.

But biopharmaceutical researchers are working tirelessly to find one – and with 59 new medicines currently in development, we may be getting closer than ever.

In a new report, “Researching Alzheimer’s Disease: Setbacks and Stepping Stones,” we showcase the long odds, the disappointments and the encouraging progress on the path toward new treatments.

In the past 16 years, we have seen only four new medicines approved for Alzheimer’s.  But in the same period, 123 medicines in the pipeline didn’t make it. These so-called failures are extremely disappointing and costly, but they are a crucial part of getting us closer to a medicine that could prevent, treat or cure the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease has a devastating impact on the health care system. Each year, the disease accounts  for $226 billion in direct medical costs and $217 billion in indirect costs in 2014 for unpaid care by family and friends. And, new treatments approved by 2025 that delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years have been projected to reduce the number of people with the disease by approximately 40 percent and the cost for care of patients by $367 billion a year by 2050.

While researchers have come a long way, we still have much work to do to understand causes of the disease and how it progresses. The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to continuing research efforts to enhance treatments, find a cure and provide hope to millions of patients and their families worldwide. 

For a deeper dive into the report, view our archived webcast, featuring executive leaders from Alzheimer’s Association, the Alliance for Aging Research and Biogen. 

Topics: Medicines in Development, Alzheimer's, Patients