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A little-known drug company announced modestly encouraging results for its experimental Alzheimer’s drug on Monday, a rare but still preliminary glimmer of hope in a field that has been battered by failure after failure.

A mid-stage study by a tiny company wouldn’t usually attract much attention, but the results unveiled by Neurotrope BioScience have been eagerly anticipated because its drug — derived from a bushy, hermaphroditic sea creature — takes a novel approach.


Big pharma companies have poured billions into drugs that target the toxic molecules amyloid and tau, long seen as the causes of Alzheimer’s. Neurotrope instead took aim at the immediate cause of cognitive decline: destruction of brain synapses and neurons, the physical basis of memory and thought. By preserving neurons and creating new synapses, the team hoped not just to ward off memory loss but perhaps even to help a damaged brain recover, Dr. Daniel Alkon, the company’s president, said in an interview while the trial was underway.

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  • Whether bryostatin-1 is successful in treating Alzheimers, the jury is still out. Maybe it will maybe it will not. Right now it is my informed belief that Anavex 2-73 is the front runner, a potential disease modifier, safe and more effective than the current standard of care.

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