No new Alzheimer's indication for Avandia

Poor Avandia. The GlaxoSmithKline drug failed an Alzheimer's disease trial, dashing the company's hopes of a new indication and up to $300 million in additional sales. "We saw no efficacy in this study, or the two adjunct trials," Michael Gold, Glaxo's vice president of neurosciences, told Bloomberg. "There is no evidence that it works. That doesn't mean we shouldn't think about other molecules."

Why Avandia, anyway? Patients with Alzheimer's disease have problems with insulin function in their brains. Some previous research hinted that Avandia might boost mental function in certain Alzheimer's patients. But in a head-to-head study pitting Avandia against Eisai's established treatment, the Aricept patients performed better on functional tests.

Scientists aren't ready to give up on the insulin route to Alzheimer's treatment. But Avandia, at least, won't benefit. And of course, the Glaxo drug could use a proverbial shot in the arm. Sales haven't bounced back since that May 2007 study linked Avandia to heart attacks. Last year's sales were down 40 percent from 2007.

- read the Bloomberg story