Myriad to discontinue Alzheimer's drug following failed trial

7/1/2008

SALT LAKE CITY Myriad Genetics will discontinue the development of its drug Flurizan, which was aimed at treating Alzheimer’s disease, after the drug failed a late-stage clinical trial, according to The New York Times.

According to the company, Flurizan did not improve cognitive ability by a statistically significant amount compared with a placebo. Nor did the drug improve the ability of patients to carry out daily activities.

The failure is significant because Flurizan was one of the first drugs to reach late-stage testing that was seen as working by trying to prevent the buildup of toxic amyloid plaques in the brain. Such plaques are the focus of the leading theory for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug’s failure might cast some new doubt on that theory as well as on other experimental drugs to block amyloid plaques.

Other drug manufacturers who have been developing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s include Wyeth and Elan, who have begun late-stage clinical trials of a drug that attempts to clear amyloid plaques from the brain in a different way than Flurizan. The drug had mixed results in a middle-stage study, but the results were good enough for the companies to continue on. Eli Lilly is also in late-stage testing for a drug that works somewhat similarly to Flurizan, by inhibiting an enzyme called gamma secretase.

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