Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating form of dementia that causes memory, thinking and behavior problems.

At the earliest stages, Alzheimer’s commonly results in difficulty in remembering new information because the disease starts in the part of the brain associated with learning.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that can cause increasingly serious symptoms, including confusion, disorientation, mood and behavioral changes, difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

Alzheimer’s disease is 100% fatal, and between 2000-2018, Alzheimer’s as a cause of death increased by 146%. More than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, making AD the most common neurodegenerative disorder. By comparison, the number of individuals in the United States alive today that have ever had lung cancer (the most common form of cancer) is approximately 541,000. There is an urgent need for therapies that slow the progression and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease to address this global healthcare crisis.

It is believed two different proteins – β-amyloid, and tau – are primary contributors to Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Misfolded β-amyloid builds up to form plaques between nerve cells in the brain. Tangles of twisted tau fibrils spread from cell-to-cell and cause build up inside cells. People with Alzheimer’s disease develop these pathological hallmarks of the disease in a predictable pattern as the disease progresses, starting in the centers of the brain responsible for memory and spreading out from there to other regions of the brain.

Our team leverages this foundational knowledge along with insights gained over the last 20 years of drug development in the Alzheimer’s space to develop new approaches to address this complex disease.

Recent data suggests that timely intervention with anti-amyloid therapy results in clinical efficacy consistent with the slowing of disease progression. Such therapies, if approved, have the potential to fundamentally change how we treat Alzheimer’s disease. These first-generation therapies are likely to require further development to increase patient access and enhance the patient experience.

Prothena’s Alzheimer’s disease portfolio spans next generation antibody immunotherapy, small molecule and vaccine approaches, geared toward building upon first generation treatments to advance the treatment paradigm. For example, we are designing our next generation abeta antibody for more convenient subcutaneous administration to increase patient access and improve the patient experience.