This week there is big news in the neurodegeneration therapeutic space. An Alzheimer’s drug, called Donanemab, was shown to significantly slow cognitive decline in a Phase 3 trial of people with early Alzheimer’s.
Donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly and Co., targets a misfolded protein in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. This is similar to Parkinson’s where another protein, called alpha-synuclein (a-syn), takes on an abnormal shape and is believed to contribute to the disease.
Targeting a-syn as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s is an area of active research. In 2022, there were 10 therapies in the Parkinson’s clinical trial pipeline targeting a-syn – including one in Phase 3 trials.
For many years the Alzheimer’s drug pipeline has struggled to see progress in protein-targeting therapies. But just in the last year two protein-targeting drugs have produced positive results showing improvements in cognitive symptoms. Progress in the protein-targeting therapeutic space is relevant the entire neurodegenerative disease industry. These results will influence pharmaceutical interest in similar therapeutic approaches for Parkinson’s, and we look forward to one day reporting on a disease-modifying treatment for our community.