Alzheimer’s Disease may be the single biggest public health challenge facing our nation in the years to come. Already the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. impacting the lives of 5.4 million people, it is estimated that by 2050, that number will explode to a staggering 13.5 million people, with an estimated price tag in excess of $1 trillion per year. That will have a devastating impact on patients and their loved ones, as well as our economy.
Even more problematic is that Alzheimer’s disease has been particularly challenging from a drug development standpoint. There have been more than 100 drug failures in Alzheimer’s disease over the last 14 years, with only three drug approvals. Additionally, the five drugs now approved for Alzheimer’s disease only help to manage disease symptoms, don’t work for many patients, and do nothing to cure the disease or stop its progression.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is fully committed to leading the discovery of new medicines for patients with Alzheimer’s disease., Additionally, we are pursuing many different drug discovery efforts—both through our internal development programs, as well as through external collaborations, some of which were established through the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centers.
We are proud to share the progress being made through one of those collaborations—a joint drug discovery and development effort between Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Evotec established though the California Innovation Center last fall. Through this collaboration, we are exploring Evotec’s proprietary TargetAD Database of genes that are dysregulated in Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to gain more insights on the molecular underpinnings of the disease to identify new opportunities for drug discovery and development. Today it was announced that Evotec has successfully achieved the first milestone of the collaboration—the identification of and selection of three new Alzheimer’s disease drug development targets. Janssen is funding the collaboration via a combination of defined research payments and progress-related milestones with an option to internalize selected assets and progress them through preclinical to clinical development.
By studying genes dysregulated at different stages of Alzheimer’s disease, there is a higher likelihood of identifying pathways that, when targeted for therapeutic intervention, have the potential to be disease modifying. We hope this approach will lead to new breakthrough medicines for patients in need so we can alter the future of Alzheimer’s disease treatment.