Alzheimer’s immunotherapy offers safer, cheaper alternative

CT scans of the brain

A new immunotherapy candidate has demonstrated a trend for slowing cognitive decline in mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD), potentially offering a more accessible and cost-effective alternative to other immunotherapies.

Vaxxinity published the Phase IIa clinical trial data in The Lancet’s eBioMedicine (Volume 94, 104665, August 2023), stating that UB-311 was safe and well-tolerated.

UB-311 is a synthetic, peptide-based active immunotherapy that targets toxic beta-amyloid (Aβ) oligomers and fibrils and oligomers.

Two passive immunotherapies – monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting Aβ – have recently been authorised by the FDA, validating Aβ as a target for disease-modifying immunotherapies of AD.

However, these immunotherapies require IV infusions every two weeks, are priced at $26,500 annually, and have been associated with amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA). In contrast, according to Vaxxinity, UB-311 offers lower rates of ARIA-E, less frequent dosing, and ease of administration through intramuscular injection.

Jeffrey Cummings, Director of the Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and co-author of the paper, said: “The UB-311 Phase IIa programme accomplished its goals of establishing safety and tolerability, while generating high levels of anti-amyloid antibodies. The gradual, natural titration of antibody titers through this approach may have contributed to a lack of ARIA-E in this study. Vaccine approaches such as UB-311 represent important ways forward in advancing treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and offer the potential to transform the treatment landscape by providing participants with an accessible therapeutic option.”

Mei Mei Hu, CEO of Vaxxinity, commented: “Imagine expanding the addressable patient population of beta-amyloid immunotherapies by multiple orders of magnitude, potentially over 1,000x, and delivering life-changing medicine at a fraction of the cost. That is our vision for UB-311 and the potential power of active immunotherapies.”

Edited by Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, Drug Discovery World

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