Recently the United States approved Biogen’s Alzheimer’s friends The head of its Japanese development partner Eisai said that a framework is urgently needed to test and treat a “secret pandemic” disease.
Aducanumab will be sold under the Aduhelm brand and is the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years, but arouse controversy In the U.S. for Its price tag is $56,000 per year And questioning its validity.
In an interview, Eisai CEO Haruo Naito stated that the Japanese group and Biogen are preparing to take steps to make the drug more widely available.But he added that countries around the world need special legislation to address Alzheimer’s disease-as the National Cancer Act does for this disease-to address the high personal deaths and the annual global cost of dementia. Now estimate More than $1 trillion.
“We don’t think that using Aduhelm alone can fundamentally treat Alzheimer’s disease, but achieving this milestone will allow us to imagine how we can achieve the path of fundamental treatment,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, there are nearly 10 million new cases of dementia each year, two-thirds of which are Alzheimer’s disease. Naito said the disease is a “secret epidemic” that is spreading from developed countries such as Japan and the United States to developing countries.
“It’s not just one or two pharmaceutical companies, but having a broader public-private framework to combat this disease is crucial, and people are frustrated with little effort in this area,” he added.
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab, Eisai’s stock price has risen 45%, and analysts expect the drug to contribute its entirety to earnings for the fiscal year ending in March 2024.
In addition to the cost of the drug, Credit Suisse analyst Fumiyoshi Sakai said that potential obstacles to this new drug’s blockbuster status include the difficulty in making a clear diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and the specialized tests required to assess whether the patient is suitable for the drug. . drug. Suitable patients must also receive intravenous fluids every four weeks.
Nonetheless, Sakai stated that the FDA’s approval increases Eisai’s BAN2401, another Alzheimer’s disease drug jointly developed with Biogen, to be approved in the future. Drugs from rival pharmaceutical groups Eli Lilly and Roche may also enter the market earlier than expected.
“Maybe aducanumab is still in the field of experimental drugs, but with more data accumulated in the next few years, it will open the way for the advent of other drugs,” Sakai said.
Since the early 1980s, Eisai has been developing drugs to treat dementia, the most famous being Donepezil, The most widely used prescription drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, originally developed as Aricept.
“If you look at us from any angle, we are all dementia,” said Naito, 73-year-old grandson of Eisai’s founder. “We have the knowledge accumulated in a series of long-term failures, and we have invested resources equivalent to those of large pharmaceutical companies, so I think we are competitive.”