This Sunday, July 8, 2012 file photo shows boxes of Gammagard, a treatment that is being tested for Alzheimer's disease, in the home of a patient in New York. For the first time, researchers are reporting that a treatment might help stabilize Alzheimer's disease for as much as three years, but the evidence is weak and only in four patients. Gammagard is a collection of antibodies from pooled blood donations given as infusions every two weeks. These antibodies may help clear the sticky plaque that clogs patients' brains.
NEW YORK — Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson said this week they are ending development of an intravenous formulation of a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease after the treatment failed in two late-stage clinical trials.
The companies said bapineuzumab intravenous did not work better than placebo in two late-stage trials in patients who had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
The drug is designed to prevent the buildup of plaque in the brain. J&J said it is not discontinuing development of the compound and noted it has ongoing studies including a mid-stage neuroimaging study with bapineuzumab delivered subcutaneously.
Johnson & Johnson made a big bet on bapineuzumab in 2009, agreeing to invest up to $1.5 billion initially. The two companies said July 23 that the drug had failed in a different trial.
Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said it will take a charge of $300 million to $400 million in the third quarter.
Dublin-based Elan Corp. PLC, which licensed the drug to Johnson & Johnson in 2009, said it will take a $117.3 million charge of its own.
Current treatments for Alzheimer’s can only temporarily ease symptoms of the disease, which include increasing memory loss, confusion, wandering and aggression.
In the latest trial, bapineuzumab was tested on about 1,300 patients who lacked a gene that is associated with a greater risk of Alzheimer’s. Last month the companies said the drug also didn’t work on patients who do have that gene. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson were running two other late-stage trials as part of a very large testing program for the drug.