Alzheimer’s Disease remains one of the leading causes of death, and yet the nature of the disease makes finding a cure elusive. But that’s not for a lack of effort. A 2021 report by the research firm Research and Markets projects that the worldwide Alzheimer’s market will be worth $9.4 billion by 2027. This presumes a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% between 2020 and 2027.
Not surprisingly, there are several companies that are involved in developing drugs and therapeutics. And the companies that can successfully bring a solution to the market stand to benefit. This article will look at three names that buy-and-hold investors may want to consider.
It wasn’t so long ago that Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) stock was under pressure after the FDA granted controversial approval of its leading drug candidate, Aducanumab. This came after an advisory panel for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recommended that Aducanumab not be approved.
At issue is whether Aducanumab could deliver the hoped-for results. Aducanumab is designed to help reduce amyloid plaques from building up. This is thought to be a leading cause of Alzheimer’s. However, the limited ability of drugs to reduce these plaques has cast some doubt on the role of amyloid plaque in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
However, recent Phase 3 results for another Biogen candidate, Lecanemab, delivered encouraging results that are renewing interest in this field of treatment. According to Biogen’s website, Lecanemab “is an antibody that binds to amyloid, which could reduce its presence in the brain and potentially slow the progress of the disease.”
Biogen is developing the drug in partnership with the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai – and profits for Lecanemab will be split 50/50 between the two companies. Investors should also pay attention to Biogen’s extensive pipeline of drugs that are in various stages of clinical trials.
Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) was one of the pioneers in Alzheimer’s research and has sponsored over 70 studies on Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The company stands to benefit from the recent results by Lecanemab because its own leading candidate, Donanemab, is designed with the same end goal of reducing the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque.
The company received a breakthrough therapy designation from the FDA in 2021 which may allow the company to accelerate the time in which Donanemab can get to market. That remains to be seen. Eli Lilly expects to hear back from the FDA sometime in early 2023.
Another reason to consider LLY stock is that the company is an established firm with many drugs that are commercially available in addition to a deep pipeline. For less risk-tolerant investors this helps take some of the risk away from Eli Lilly as its not dependent on the success of any one candidate.
For risk-tolerant investors willing to take a chance on a clinical stage company, Cassava Sciences (NASDAQ:SAVA) presents an intriguing opportunity. As I noted above, the efficacy of drugs to remove amyloid plaque is ongoing. And that means there’s an opportunity for companies that are taking a different approach.
That’s where Cassava comes in. The company’s research is focusing on the root cause for why the amyloid plaque builds up in the first place. The company’s lead candidate, Simufilam, has shown promising results that in Phase 2 studies. According to the company’s website, “Simufilam is a proprietary, small molecule (oral) drug that restores the normal shape and function of altered filamin A (FLNA), a scaffolding protein, in the brain.”
The drug is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, and the company hopes to release results by the third quarter of 2023. That means regulatory approval is still some time away. But for investors with a long time horizon, SAVA stock shows some promise.