Austria's AFFiRiS AG is moving its lead Alzheimer's vaccine into a Phase II study that will test just how valuable the GlaxoSmithKline-partnered therapy is against a primary target in the fight against the degenerative disease.
A total of 420 patients will be recruited in six European countries for the mid-stage study of AD02, a short peptide that is designed to eliminate the beta amyloid protein that spawns plaque believed by many to cause Alzheimer's. The vaccine triggers the production of antibodies designed to attack the specific protein. GSK (NYSE: GSK) has already handed over €65 million of a €420 million deal it made to partner on the Alzheimer's therapy.
AFFiRiS has been advancing a number of therapeutic vaccines in its pipeline, including a program that is slated to go into an early-stage study for Parkinson's in 2011. Atherosclerosis, hypertension and three other indications are also on the developer's radar.
Alzheimer's has been a notoriously difficult disease to work on, as scientists have yet to reach a consensus on what causes the memory-wasting illness. But the potential market for any developer that can make an impact here is huge.
- check out the AFFiRiS press release
- here's the story from the Independent