Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than five million people in the US alone; it’s also the sixth leading cause of deaths in the country. There are treatments available to treat the disease symptoms, but without affecting the underlying causes of the disease, they’re only a bandaid effect.
Not only is AD diminishing the lives of people affected and putting a strain on their caretakers, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia cost the US health care system over $259 billion in 2017, and may increase to over $1.1 trillion by 2050, according to a report by the Alzheimer’s Association. Since 2000, AD deaths have increased by 89 percent, while heart disease deaths have decreased by 14 percent.
As it currently stands, approved treatments in the AD market include: Aricept by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Rivastigmine by Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Galantamine by Shire (NASDAQ:SHPG) and Takeda (TYO:4502), to name a few.
With that in mind, here the Investing News Network (INN) takes a look at smaller market-cap companies getting involved in the market. The companies listed below were chosen from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s 2017 Medicines in Development for Alzheimer’s, and all have a market cap below $500 million. All numbers and figures are current as of market close on March 6, 2018.
Here’s a closer look at those Alzheimer’s disease treatment stocks.
1. Actinogen Medical (ASX:ACW)
Market cap: AUD$38.11 million; current share price: AUD$0.05
First on our Alzheimer’s disease treatment stocks list is Actinogen Medical. This Australian stock exchange-listed biotech company focuses on treatment for cognitive declines from chronic neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. The company is working to develop Xanamem, for AD which works to block excess production of cortisol—a stress hormone—which is associated with affecting memory and the development of amyloid plaques and neural death.
The company is in its Phase II clinical trial with XanADu, to test the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Xanamem and expects to release top line results by mid-2019.
2. Anavex Life Science (NASDAQ:AVXL)
Market cap: $116.78 million; current share price: $2.93
Anavex is a biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative and neurodevelopment diseases such as AD, central nervous system diseases (CNS) and types of cancer. The company’s lead drug candidate is for AD is Anavex 2-73 which targets sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors to restore homeostasis. Preclinical studies for the drug candidate proved it has the potential to stop or reverse the course of AD.
In a program update, Anavex was able to identify genomic alterations to potentially use as biomarkers in future clinical trials. “We are expecting to leverage these important findings to more precisely target patients based on specific genomic profiles that may be highly responsive to ANAVEX®2-73,” said Christopher U Missling, president and CEO of Anavex said in the update.
3. Axsome Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AXSM)
Market cap: $170.18 million; current share price: $1.58
Middle of the pack on our Alzheimer’s disease treatment stocks list is Axsome Therapeutics. This clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Axsome, is also developing therapies for CNS management disorders such as treatment resistant depression, AD, and more. AXS-05 is the company’s lead investigational drug. More specifically, it works by combining bupropion and dextromethorphan (DM) in a fixed dose to target different CNS receptors, which may treat CNS disorders.
The drug is currently in its Phase 3 trial treating agitation in patients with AD, and received fast track designation U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017.
4. Neurotrope Bioscience (NASDAQ:NTRP)
Market cap: $69.56 million; current share price: $8.81
Largely with a focus on AD, Neurotrope, is also interested in multidisciplinary research on molecular and biophysical mechanisms associated with memory dysfunctions. In early January, the company announced from their Phase 2 clinical trial with Bryostatin patients had improved cognition, and the improvements were sustained 30 days after the last dose.
“The discovery that an NMDA inhibitor like memantine may diminish the effect of bryostatin, a PKC epsilon activator is very interesting as it is consistent with the proposed mode of action of bryostatin, and provides an internal control within the trial. This represents one of the most promising new developments in Alzheimer’s research and is welcome news following so many heartbreaking disappointments in the field,” George Perry, who recently joined Neurotrope’s Board as a director said in the release.
5. vTv Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VTVT)
Market cap: $191.62 million; current share price: $5.84
Closing out our Alzheimer’s disease treatment stocks list is vTv Therapeutics.
vTv sets itself aside from the other companies on this list by having a broader focus than just AD, along with diabetes, and inflammatory diseases. Currently working on its Phase 3 trials of Steadfast, investigating the efficacy of azeliragon to slow the decline of cognition and functional activities for patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease—basically to slow the disease from taking over.
“We made tremendous progress across the spectrum of our Alzheimer’s and diabetes programs this past year, and look forward to continuing this momentum in 2018 as we anticipate reporting topline results in April from Part A of our Phase 3 STEADFAST study of azeliragon in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease,” said Steve Holcombe, president and CEO of vTv Therapeutics in the most recent financial report.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.