Pfizer, Medivation's trial of investigational Alzheimer's treatment falls short

NEW YORK Hopes that a drug Soviet scientists created in the 1980s might provide a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease were dashed as the two companies developing it got lackluster results from a late-stage clinical trial.

Pfizer and Medivation announced Thursday that the phase 3 trial of Dimebon (latrepirdine), dubbed CONNECTION, showed no statistically significant improvement in the conditions of Alzheimer’s patients compared with those in the placebo group, though the patients were able to tolerate the drug.

“The results from the CONNECTION study are unexpected, and we are disappointed for the Alzheimer’s community,” Medivation president and CEO David Hung said in a statement. “We are working with our colleagues at Pfizer to better understand the CONNECTION data, and we plant to present these data at an upcoming medical meeting.”

Scientists in the Soviet Union originally developed Dimebon in the early 1980s as an antihistamine. Pfizer and Medivation picked up the drug in 2008 when a smaller clinical study indicated that it could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Another phase 3 trial, HORIZON, to investigate the drug as a treatment for Huntington’s disease, is ongoing, as are three other Alzheimer’s studies – CONCERT, CONSTELLATION and CONTACT.

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