In the wake of the first Alzheimer’s drug approval in nearly two decades, pharmaceutical companies have been reinvigorated in their effort to tackle the neurodegenerative disease. But as Aduhelm takes its first stuttering steps on the market, it’s clear pharma’s struggles are far from over — leaving an opening for a crop of software and device companies to take aim.
“There’s been a big spike in investment in digital therapeutics that are targeting Alzheimer’s,” said Martin Culjat, a digital medicine consultant at Eversana who advises multiple companies developing the non-pharmacological therapies. “A lot of that has been driven by the challenges in getting these drugs approved.”
While pharma companies continue to bet on drugs targeting the disease’s hallmark sticky clumps of protein in the brain, medical technologies may not need to understand the disease’s still-murky root causes to target its symptoms. A digitized version of psychosocial therapy could help manage agitation and depression associated with the disease, or a noninvasive global brain stimulation technique could slow cognitive decline.
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