Alzheimer’s drug could be available in two years

A breakthrough drug developed in an Aberdeen laboratory to tackle dementia may be less than two years away from treating its first patient following an £88 million investment .

Alzheimer's damages nerve cells (above) and causes memory loss and behavioural changes. Picture: Contributed
Alzheimer's damages nerve cells (above) and causes memory loss and behavioural changes. Picture: Contributed

TauRx Pharmaceuticals, the spin-out company taking forward the Aberdeen findings, have secured the money to support the new phase of international clinical trials.

It follows the early success of a prototype drug in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients in the north-east of Scotland and other parts of the UK.

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The findings of this earlier Phase 2 trial, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, provided the basis and rationale for the much bigger, international Phase 3 trials now in progress.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, welcomed news of the latest investment.

He said: “We’re immensely proud that the science behind this exciting spin out company has come from University of Aberdeen laboratories.

“It’s a tremendous achievement for the team that these worldwide clinical trials are now taking place.

“I am delighted to hear of this new investment which will, we hope, bring the drug now being tested closer to families all over the world who are affected by these devastating conditions.”

The findings of the Phase 3 clinical trials are due next year.

Earlier Janet Crampton, who formerly worked on the UK Government’s national dementia strategy, warned that a “tsunami” of dementia suffers would need support for their condition in the future.

Latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Society show there are 70,162 people in Scotland living with dementia.

The number of people with dementia in the UK is forecast to increase from around 860,000 to 1.1 million by 2025 if current trends continue, the society said.

The drug that is now being trialled is the first disease-modifying agent of its kind and targets the abnormal tangles of tau protein in brain cells, which is a characteristic of the condition.