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Novartis looks to become player in research for Alzheimer's disease


By Bloomberg News

on May 21, 2013 at 7:05 PM, updated May 21, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Siting a high level of unmet need, Novartis AG plans to ramp up its research in Alzheimer’s disease, a potential $20 billion market lacking a major contender and littered with three high-profile drug failures in the past year alone.

“This remains high on our radar, with high unmet medical need,” Tim Wright, who heads the Basel, Switzerland-based company’s drug development, said on a conference call arranged by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Tim Anderson in April. Novartis didn’t respond to a request for comment on its Alzheimer’s research.

Novartis, which has a presence in East Hanover, would be racing to catch up with Roche Holding AG and New Brunswick-based Merck & Co., which are conducting human tests on treatments for Alzheimer’s, the most common dementia illness. Drugmakers are vying to find a way to slow the disease, which may affect 65 million people by 2030. The field is marked with failures, including a study Baxter International Inc. released this month in which its Gammagard drug didn’t help patients.


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