Cashing in on an Alzheimer’s Breakthrough
If you are married and between the ages of 55 and 70, there’s a 50% chance either you or your spouse is developing Alzheimer’s disease right now. With a single diagnosis, you could join the 5.4 million Americans who are suffering from the mind-wasting disease.
It sounds grim, I know. But there is hope. In fact, one company may have figured out how to actually stop the disease in its tracks.
If it works, it could save trillions of dollars over the next few decades. We can also spare millions upon millions of lives the ravages of this mind-destroying condition. And this company could become one of the greatest and most profitable success stories in pharmaceutical history.
In a minute, I’ll tell you all about the company, its exciting work and the potential for historic returns.
But first, it’s important to understand more about the disease…
In the graphic below, you can see what a healthy brain looks like on the left. In the middle scan is a brain with mild cognitive impairment. On the right is a brain with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Notice the progressive loss of brain tissue:
Researchers believe the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are filled with a misshaped protein known as beta amyloid.
Our brains are always making beta-amyloid proteins. When they break down, they turn into single strands of beta-amyloid proteins, also known as monomers.
These monomers tend to clump into strands and form inert plaques that don’t harm the brain. However, sometimes there is a misfolded form of the protein in the mix. This form is toxic to neurons.
Even worse, these toxic beta-amyloid proteins are “prions.” Prions can not only self-replicate, but they can also induce normal proteins they come in contact with to misfold in the exact same way. In other words, a misfolded prion spreads like a virus, causing more and more proteins to misfold, like a row of toppling dominoes.
Over time, the accumulation of large amounts of toxic protein starts killing brain cells.
So to fight Alzheimer’s disease, we need a way to remove these toxic beta amyloids from the body. The tricky part is that these proteins misfold in many different variants, and each has to be identified and studied to find out what it does and why.
It’s one of the reasons progress finding a cure has been so slow.
Medical science just hasn’t figured out a way to clear up the prions that researchers believe are causing Alzheimer’s disease. The best they’ve been able to do is slow the disease’s progression by improving communication between affected neurons — helping them work better despite the building prions.
Between 2002 and 2012, there were 413 Alzheimer’s clinical trials testing 244 different drugs.
Out of all of the trials during that 10-year span, only one drug worked well enough to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. None of them works for more than a few months, because none of them actually strikes at the roots. Neither does the one approved drug. It only partially masks the symptoms.
This is a short-term solution at best. It only delays the inevitable for a few months.
However, we can and do learn from failure, and with every failed trial, we find out more about this insidious disease and what could work to stop it.
Thanks to what we’ve learned, a light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. In 2015, one company, Biogen, saw its market value grow by $40 billion in just a few months after it announced promising results from a clinical trial for a drug called aducanumab.
And this wasn’t even a late-stage trial. It was an early one, when a drug development company is generally trying to find out whether a therapy is safe or not.
Biogen has continued to release data on its new drug. But the drug has severe limits. Higher doses, which could be more effective, create dangerous side effects.
Still, the research into the drug helped bolster some theories about Alzheimer’s disease — especially those about the mechanisms that cause it in the first place.
Now one company is taking those findings a step further — creating a treatment that specifically targets what they believe is the true “bad actor” in Alzheimer’s disease.
Its laserlike focus could mean effectively treating Alzheimer’s without the severe side effects.
If its drug is successful, it won’t matter if another company like Biogen ends up with a first-in-class drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because this company could be bringing the best-in-class drug to market — quickly racking up profits from what could be one of the best-selling drugs in biotech history.
Let me tell you why this company has this important edge… and why it could lead to even better things in the future.
Perhaps the company’s biggest asset is its chief scientific officer. He got his start at the University of Chicago’s neurology department and has been studying neurodegenerative disorders for 30 years.
He has over 45 patents to his name and has published over 300 scientific papers, including in such respected scientific and medical journals as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Medicine, Cell and The New England Journal of Medicine.
In 2000, he was awarded March of Dimes Canada’s prestigious Jonas Salk Award for “a lifetime of outstanding contributions to basic biomedical research.”
As part of performing the necessary due diligence, I had the great privilege of meeting him personally in Vancouver. The work he and his colleagues are doing could one day relieve a huge burden of disease and suffering.
While I was there, I was able to tour the laboratories and talk to some of the more than two dozen researchers and technicians working under his guidance. I was extremely impressed (go here to see exactly what I learned from this remarkable scientist).
The next step is to validate and patent up to five precision therapies to go after them. Right now, the company is working on running a number of animal studies to validate the company’s portfolio.
The company’s antibodies are being currently being studied, with results expected over the next few months.
If they can get antibodies to attach to the toxic beta-amyloid prions while leaving the inert ones alone, it will be one step closer to curing the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
At the same time, the company will be developing an important diagnostic. This diagnostic could eventually be used to catch Alzheimer’s disease early — before it’s eaten up much of a person’s brain matter and caused cognitive decline.
The company’s near-term goal is to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA in late 2018. That’s the first step toward clinical trials on humans.
After that, the sky could be the limit.
In short, the company is taking a novel approach to treating some dreaded conditions that should catch the attention of deep-pocketed investors.
And as an investor, you have the opportunity to be a part of making such a great thing happen — plus enjoy the potential for massive profits.
for The Daily Reckoning