New Study Identifies More Than 99% of Alzheimer’s Drug Trials Failed in Last Decade

Scientists at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have performed the first-ever study of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), showing an immediate require to raise the number of agents entering the AD drug development pipeline and advancing successfully in direction of new therapies. The paper, “Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development Pipeline: Few Candidates, Frequent Failures,” was presented in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

An extensive look at all clinical studies underway shows:

  • There are comparatively few medicines in development for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The inability rate for AD drug development is more than 99 % for the decade 2002-2012.
  • The number of medicines has been decreasing since 2009.

“Our objective was to analyze historical trends to assist understand why Alzheimer’s disease treatment development initiatives so frequently fail,” stated Jeffrey L. Cummings. “More than 40 million individuals living worldwide with the problem, the study reveals that the Alzheimer’s disease drug development ecosystem requires more support given the magnitude of the issue.”

Applying the advanced search systems of, a government website that documents all on-going clinical studies, Dr. Cummings, along with Kate Zhong, designed an extensive analysis to analyze all trials since 2002.

“By examining both finished as well as ongoing studies and presently active compounds, we were capable to offer insight into longitudinal trends in drug development,” stated Dr. Zhong. “What we identified was that the financial commitment in AD drugs and treatments is reasonably low compared to the obstacle posed by the AD. The pipeline is nearly empty.”

This extensive evaluation shows the high rate of failure of compounds and need for a consistent supply of new medicines or a higher emphasis on repurposing, which can be evaluated for efficacy in AD. With AD more expensive to the United States financial state than cancer or cardiac problems, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health research group considers the system of AD medication must be backed, grown and harmonized to enhance the success rate and development of new treatments.

To be able to speed up the drug development approach and decrease the need to constantly develop new drugs, scientists observe the need for more repositioning studies, which include examining an already-approved medicine in a new use or problem. For example, scientists at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health are leading a milestone Phase IIa clinical trial to identify if bexarotene (Targretin™), a drug presently FDA accepted to treat skin cancer, can eliminate a protein build-up in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers, as it did in a latest animal study.