Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lessons learned at Roche

Here's an interesting interview in Nature with Luca Santarelli, Senior Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Research and Early Development at Roche.  It's behind a paywall, so you need to have institutional access, but in essence he's optimistic of drug development for neurological diseases:
We think that neuroscience is now where oncology was about 15 years ago, at the brink of a revolution that will allow a deep understanding of brain function and a true comprehension of disease mechanisms.
What we have learned from cancer is that you can get more efficacy and less toxicity if you target the disease biology directly. This shift was made possible in cancer in the 1990s thanks to the discovery of the molecular pathways that lead to tumour formation. I think we're doing the same in neuroscience now by focusing on those conditions where we have a better understanding of disease biology.
Further in he describes progress in the development of Alzheimer's disease drugs, their Phase II/III SCarlet RoAD programme that's testing gantenerumab in patients with prodromal Alzheimer's disease (clinical trial is here).  Santarelli claims Roche can identify patients developing Alzheimer's disease with a test on cerebral spinal fluid.