Dec 10 Merck & Co said it will advance
its experimental Alzheimer's drug into late-stage trials among
patients with mild to moderate disease, after an independent
monitoring board reviewed its safety and recommended the trial
continue to recruit patients.
The data monitoring committee gave its blessing to a far
larger trial involving almost 2,000 patients after examining
interim safety data from a mid-stage trial of 200 patients who
had been treated with the medicine, called MK-8931, for at least
three months, Merck said.
The medicine works by blocking an enzyme called BACE that is
involved in the production of beta-amyloid, a protein that
creates plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's
BACE inhibition is considered the most promising new
approach to slowing progression of Alzheimer's disease, after
other efforts to directly block beta amyloid have failed or
fallen short in trials conducted by Pfizer Inc, Eli
Lilly and Co and other drugmakers.