There is a large and rapidly growing unmet need for disease modifying drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. In 2015, the Alzheimer’s Association estimated that there were 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease; by 2050 they estimate that this number will triple to 13.8 million. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the industrialized world – and there is no cure.
Alzheimer’s disease pathology includes “plaques” of beta-amyloid and “tangles” of tau protein. These proteins tend to abnormally “clump”, and such protein misfolding processes give rise to inflammation and neuronal death. In order to make an impact on this disease, drugs must be found that can potently and selectively stop this process.
The number of persons expected to survive into their 80’s and 90’s is expected grow exponentially due to advances in medicine, technology, and improving social and environmental conditions. A very large segment of the U.S. population, the baby boomer generation, is at or near retirement age. Thus, the segment of the U.S. population aged 65 and older by 2030 is projected to double to 71 million persons or 20% of the total population. This will drive the dramatic growth in persons with Alzheimer’s disease over the next few decades.