LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/30/13 -- During his distinguished career, Dr. Daniel G. Chain, Ph.D. discovered various novel therapeutics to treat Alzheimer's disease which were licensed to multiple Big Pharma giants.
Dr. Chain trained as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University in New York. Dr. Chain obtained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Institute of Biology in London and obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
He currently serves as Chairman of Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. (OTCQB: ILNS), where he has also been Chief Executive Officer since October 2005.
In an exclusive interview with BioMedReports, Chain says that biotech investors should remain undeterred by the challenges currently being faced by those trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and other age-related cognitive impairments.
BioMedReports: How would you characterize the mood among Alzheimer's researchers after the phase 3 results for Bapineuzumab and Solanezumab?
Dr. Daniel G. Chain, Ph.D.: Obviously, people were very disappointed by the results from the two sets of major Alzheimer's Phase 3 trials, but there were also glimmers of light that renewed hope and even strengthened the prevailing belief that beta amyloid (Aβ) plays a central and causative role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Few now doubt that immunotherapy represents a realistic path forward pending improvements in drug design and the way we conduct clinical trials. Ely Lilly's drug solanezumab showed modest improvement in clinical outcomes when data was pooled from two clinical trials. The drug is to be further tested in a third phase 3 trial by the company and two independent trials conducted by leading academic groups. While bapineuzumab failed to show clinical benefit, the use of biomarkers clearly demonstrated the drug had engaged the target, reduced the amount of plaque and slowed neurodegeneration based upon the decrease in the amount of tau protein measured in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Unfortunately, the drug also caused a significant incidence of vasogenic edema and microhemorrhages, especially in patients that carried the APOE4 gene. A Phase 2 trial is ongoing using a subcutaneous formulation that may avoid these side effects. There is a feeling of optimism among researchers that next generation drugs will have an improved probability of success because of the lessons we have learned from these results and other important recent developments in the field. I experienced this first-hand when I was invited as a Distinguished Speaker to the 6th Annual Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Summit in December and had the opportunity to listen to foremost leaders in the field including academic researchers and industry experts.
Among the themes that have become prevalent is that there is a compelling case for early intervention in the treatment of the disease in which relevant biochemical and neuropathological changes in the brain start many years -- in some case two decades or more -- before symptoms occur! Moreover, the rate of change is far greater before the appearance of symptoms such that the stage we commonly refer to as "Mild," is in fact relatively far advanced, reflecting significant damage to the brain, which is probably beyond repair.
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