FRANKFURT, Sept 9 (Reuters) - An Alzheimer’s vaccine developed by a privately held Slovakian biotech firm showed early signs of efficacy in a mid-stage trial, in a rare step forward in the fight against the brain-wasting disease, the company said on Monday.
Axon Neuroscience said its AADvac1 drug, which targets pathological changes in the brain to the so-called tau protein that is a hallmark of the disease, slowed deterioration in trial patients when compared with a reference group given a placebo.
The close-to-200 trial participants in eight European countries were between 50 and 85 years of age and had shown early signs of the disease.
Among younger participants in the trial, a number of assessments of cognitive abilities, including memory, orientation and performing everyday tasks, showed “positive signals” for those on AADvac1 versus those that were not, Axon said.
A blood test measuring neurodegeneration, known as Neurofilament Light Chain (NfL), indicated a “marked slowdown” of deterioration across the age range, it said, adding that the reading was statistically reliable.
The trial was in the second of three phases of testing typically required for regulatory approval.
The search for an effective drug against Alzheimer’s dementia, which affects about 5.8 million Americans, has so far resulted in a string of high-profile failures, many in the third and last phase, despite the involvement of several major pharmaceutical players.
Axon would now look to sign a collaboration agreement with a global pharma company to fund larger trials in the third phase of testing, which is typically the most costly, it said.
AADvac1 was shown to be safe and well-tolerated in the trial, Axon added. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alex Richardson)