As reported earlier, we have been covering the BioCEO conference in New York City this week and if you haven't been watching some the webcast conference presentations week you may be missing out on some of the big upcoming movers in healthcare. Lots of information being shared by leaders in Biotech here.
Early in the conference, we have taken notice of some of the chatter and buzz surrounding two very hot topics in health care: Skin Cancer and Alzheimer's Desease.
We all know that skin cancer is set to replace Lung Cancer as the most common form of human cancer but, we were stunned to see the number of cases coming out of places like Australia- where even some of the indigenous people of that country are seeing a rise in the number of carcinoma and melanoma. Makes you wonder if the reported hole in the ozone layer isn't worse than officially reported.
In any case, with over 1 million new cases of skin cancer reported annually the leaders in biotech are pointing to that as a growing market with plenty of opportunities to provide better screening and treatment options. It is now estimated that nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once. Healthcare investors will want to keep an eye on this and we will examine of the companies which may present some good opprotunities in that regards.
Also on Monday, there was an excellent panel discussion on the topic of Alzheimers titled:“Alz Well That Ends Well: The Beta-Amyloid Debate in Alzheimer’s Research"
As Jason Corum reports, researchers and clinicians alike believe there is substantial evidence to support the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may be caused by deposition of amyloid beta-peptide (Abeta) in plaques in brain tissue. But drugs targeted towards the beta-amyloid have met with significant setbacks challenging ideas and theories about whether that target is the correct one.
With several late stage drugs targeting beta-amyloid poised for market entry, some of the opinion leaders in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and scientific industry specialists discussed the issue during the very informative panel. They agreed on very few topics, but did think that it’s very likely that amyloid has something to do with Alzheimer’s disease – it’s just a question of degree.
“Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we have drugs that can do something,” Ashburn said. “The doctor will hopefully have a repertoire of mechanisms to bring to bear as he or she does today with hypertension.”
As you may recall, we broke the story of Intellect Neurosciences a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, as so many other biotech companies with few choices in financing do, the company got involved with a toxic financing and it nearly cost them everything. Now, given the upcoming data from important clinical trials in the field, ILNS may finally be poised to realize some of the things we first brought to the market's attention back then.
Right now, there is a race by some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies to get that first FDA approved 'treal treatment' for Alzheimer's across the finish line and in order to get that FDA and as the patent holder for many of the molecules used by those developers, ILNS could become a market mover.
Thus far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only two types of medications for Alzheimer's and both only seek to treat the cognitive symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself. Sadly, family members of those suffering from the illness often chose to spend the money on those treatments even though socialized medicine entities around the globe have started refusing to cover or pay the exorbitant prices for those counteractant prescriptions.
While panelist in New York agreed that it’s very likely that amyloid has something to do with Alzheimer’s disease, even ILNS has hedged their bets. There is an excellent article in Xconomy this morning which deals with this very topic:
"Researchers hunting for treatments for Alzheimer’s disease often jokingly refer to themselves as either “Baptists” or “Tauists.” The Baptists believe a protein called beta amyloid, or BAP is the main culprit because it forms the brain plaques thought to contribute to loss of memory and other hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Tauists say the tau protein is actually the bad actor, because it causes abnormal tangles inside cells that interfere with the transporting of nutrients and other vital substances in the brain.
"Daniel Chain, CEO of New York-based Intellect Neurosciences (OTCBB: ILNS) is an Alzheimer’s agnostic. 'I was an early Baptist, but I also recognize that tau is an important player,' he says. On February 7, Intellect filed three patents on a new therapeutic vaccine that’s designed to clear toxic forms of both beta amyloid and tau from the brain."
The rest of the article is worth a read right now.
We get the sense that ILNS will be making news in the coming weeks and that several of those Big Pharmas who are already partnered with ILNS, may want to do even more serious business with the firm.
Dr. Daniel Chain, Chairman and CEO Intellect Neurosciences Inc. and inventor of an antibody-based technology platform for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, had already predicted that despite some of the setbacks in beta-amyloid, we are less than five years from an Alzheimer’s drug that treats the disease, not just the symptoms. “I am confident that the first disease-modifying drugs will be on the market within the next five years with follow-on generation improved drugs with increased safety and efficacy also on the way. My confidence is based on the progress that has been made over two decades of intensive research resulting in our current understanding of the underlying root cause of Alzheimer’s disease and the preliminary, but so far encouraging, data starting to emerge from clinical trials regarding products currently in advanced development,” said Chain.
Read also one of our early reports about ILNS here: http://www.biomedreports.com/2010071347346/ilns-a-big-part-of-the-20-billion-space-race.html
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