Being well known isn’t a key to lasting success in this arena, though. In fact, there are three Alzheimer’s stocks worth a much closer look because of their underlying companies’ compelling new research, even if an actual marketable drug is years away:
- Prana Biotechnology (PRAN): Though PB2 is only in Phase 2 trials as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, the results Prana Biotechnology has produced so far are exciting. While PB2 keeps amyloid plaque at the center of the drug-development effort, it’s taking the idea one step further. Prana Biotechnology’s researchers believe naturally-occurring zinc and copper in synapses reacts with beta amyloid proteins to become toxic. PB2 returns those synaptic metals to neurons before they get a chance to spark the creation of amyloid plaque.
- Sangamo BioSciences (SGMO): It’s only in Phase 1 testing right now, but CERE-110 from Sangamo could be a game-changer in the war on Alzheimer’s. The therapy delivers a nerve-growth factor — a therapeutic protein — to the brain’s nerve cells that would otherwise be destroyed by Alzheimer’s usual effects.
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): It’s certainly not a pure Alzheimer’s play, and even if it were, it would be years and years away before a drug was formulated from the idea. But, with the recent acquisition of German company Evotec, Johnson & Johnson now has a potential handle on the genetic causes and indications for Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing which genes are turned on or off for these dementia sufferers is the groundwork for developing a preventive treatment.
It’s worth noting that Alzheimer’s drug solanezumab, from Eli Lilly (LLY), already failed, and it was focused on the reduction of the beta-amyloid plaques found in many Alzheimer’s patients. Meanwhile, bapineuzumab, co-developed by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson as a means to reduce beta amyloid plaque, was discontinued due to ineffectiveness.
Point being, the mere “amyloid plaque reduction” route may well be a dead end. This opens the door to other treatment possibilities, and means non-traditional Alzheimer’s stocks represent legitimate opportunities.
Whatever the true cause and effect of Alzheimer’s is, Aricept, Namenda, and Exelon generated $6 billion in sales, last year. And that’s with a mediocre benefit (at best) from these treatments, and a questionable benefit in too many cases. Were a truly effective drug brought to market, some experts believe the size of the Alzheimer’s market could be worth $20 billion. It’s only a matter of time before some young, enterprising organization does exactly that.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.