• US stock market daily report (September 02, 2015, Wednesday)

    Two pharmaceutical giants are tag-teaming to develop a drug that could slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease - a debilitating brain disorder or related dementia.

    Globally, an estimated 44 million people have Alzheimer's. In the United States alone, 5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s.

    In an agreement announced on Tuesday, Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Nasdaq) and Novartis AG (NVS - NYSE) will combine separate efforts on drugs that attack BACE, an enzyme that produces clusters of proteins called plaques that are believed to cause the brain disorder, Alzheimer’s.

    Executive vice president of research and development for Amgen, Sean Harper said the partnership will allow the companies to join forces “on two important neuroscience programs where there remains high unmet medical need.”

    An undisclosed upfront payment as well as milestone payments will be made by Amgen to Novartis to initially cover “disproportional research and development costs,” followed by a 50/50 split of costs and profits.

    Novartis will share some of the risk with Amgen through the partnership, as they move through the lengthy, potentially problematic path toward regulatory approval.

    Novartis will receive commercial rights outside the United States, Canada and Japan for migraine drugs that Amgen testing in clinical trials - as part of the agreement. Amgen will receive double-digit royalties on sale of the drugs from Novartis.

    BACE inhibitors are the latest hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s although, then are not a sure fire thing.

    In 2013, Eli Lilly and Company (LLY - NYSE) eliminated its BACE inhibitor during clinical trials, amidst concerns it could cause liver damage.

    On the Alzheimer’s front, Novartis was a step ahead of Amgen, conducting clinical trials of an oral drug called CNP520. Amgen said it has “a number of preclinical candidates” in the Alzheimer’s field.

    On a study to test the effectiveness of its Alzheimer's drugs on more than 1,300 healthy adults who have a genetic risk to develop the disease, Novartis has partnered with Arizona-based Banner Alzheimer's Institute.

    Contributed by Millennium Traders
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