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World Alzheimer’s Day: a Snapshot of the Indication

News Published on September 21, 2018

As today it’s World Alzheimer’s Day, let’s stop and think about the stigma related to this progressive disease which impairs the memory, along with other mental functions. More importantly, we need to break the stigma as this disease affects so many among us, not only patients but also their loved ones.

Today, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most frequent cause of dementia in the western world, with over 5,5 million patients in the USA alone and an estimated patient population of over 24 million globally.

Trial and Sponsor Activity

ta-Scan provides you with a quick overview of the current clinical research landscape, a landscape which has been evolving quite significantly in the last few years. With 525 trials currently ongoing, of which 275 started in the last two years, it’s a clear sign this disease area has not lost any awareness.

ta-Scan World Alzheimer's Day 2018 2

With many major pharmaceutical sponsors running big research trials, most trials are still in early phase research as the disease is so complicated to understand.

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Unsurprisingly, Eli LillyRoche, and Johnson & Johnson are the top three sponsors in this domain. However, over the last years this list has expanded with some new names such as Biogen (collaborating with Eisai), Otsuka (collaborating with Lundbeck), and Cognition Therapeutics, who have shown a steep increase in clinical activity. Could one of these companies finally come with the break we’ve all been waiting for?

Sites and Investigators

ta-Scan has identified over 5000 clinical study sites and over 5500 confirmed investigators globally who are involved in enrolling patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, in the hope to find a treatment for many more people.

As visualized below, the number and location of study sites and investigators indicate a high patient density distributed, not only in North America and Europe, but also in the Asia-Pacific region, reminding us of the severity of this global disease.

ta-Scan World Alzheimer's Day 2018 4


Over the years, there have been several theories on what the perfect target for new Alzheimer’s disease drugs should be. This list has currently narrowed down to two main theories:

  1. The Tau Hypothesis, a theory which is still active. Some drug compounds to keep an eye on the following months: ABBV 8E12 (Abbvie), BIIB 092(Biogen), ACI-35 (Johnson & Johnson), and AADvac1 (Axon Neurosciences).
  2. The Amyloid hypothesis, a theory which seems to be supported by the majority of sponsors. This theory contains a long list of research drugs. However, several of these studies have had to be halted due to safety or response issues. Johnson & Johnson, with their atabecestat, is the last to join this list of halted studies. A drug that is showing promising results at the moment: Biogen and Eisai’s BAN2401, currently in phase two and interesting to keep an eye on in the future.