Roche to start new trial of AC Immune drug against Alzheimer's

ZURICH (Reuters) - Roche is starting a second late-stage trial of investigational Alzheimer’s drug crenezumab that it is developing with Swiss biotech AC Immune, shrugging off failures of similar drugs against the memory-robbing disease.

Roche’s new Phase III trial will recruit 750 patients with prodromal or mild Alzheimer’s disease, AC Immune said on Tuesday. An ongoing Phase III, 750-patient trial of crenezumab, which was developed by AC Immune, is due publish results in 2020.

AC Immune said the new trial, whose completion date it did not give, underscored confidence that crenezumab is different from medicines from other companies including Eli Lilly that have faltered in trials against Alzheimer’s.

“Given the recent disappointing results of other therapies, all of us in the Alzheimer’s community need to redouble our efforts to combat one of society’s biggest challenges,” said AC Immune Chief Executive Andrea Pfeifer.

“We remain confident about the potential of crenezumab given it is distinct from other beta amyloid antibodies.”

Reporting by John Miller, editing by Louise Heavens