New Alzheimer’s drug fails at last test

A new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has failed to pass its final stage tests.

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Despite earlier promise, the drug RVT-101, also known as intepirdine, has not produced benefits to people living with Alzheimer’s disease, the Axovant Sciences pharmaceutical company announced.

The trials began in 2015 and new hope was offered to around half a million people in the UK living with Alzheimer’s.

Axovant Sciences said it was “deeply disappointed” by the results and “saddened” for the millions of patients and their families, while Alzheimer’s Research UK’s chief scientific officer Dr David Reynolds described it as “clearly a setback” for those affected by the disease.

“The 15-year wait for a new Alzheimer’s drug does not end today,” Reynolds said.

“In recent years science has made huge leaps forward in tackling diseases like cancer and HIV/Aids, and despite setbacks like this, we will be able to tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s if we continue to invest in research.”

RVT-101 was designed to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by boosting levels of chemical messengers in the brain.

The unsuccessful trial involved 1,315 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease who received either a daily pill containing 35mg of RVT-101 or a placebo pill, alongside the current Alzheimer’s treatment, donepezil.

After 24 weeks of treatment, people who took the daily dose of RVT-101 did not show signs of a benefit compared with people who took donepezil alone.

Axovant will not be submitting the drug for regulatory approval for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s.