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SAN FRANCISCO — The failure of a once-promising Alzheimer’s disease medicine from Roche appears to have a simple explanation: The drug didn’t do its job.

In a presentation just weeks after Roche announced the drug’s failure, the Swiss pharma giant on Wednesday said its treatment had a disappointing effect on a toxic protein called amyloid, whose accumulation in the brain is thought to drive the advance of Alzheimer’s. As a result, the treatment showed no significant benefit to patients’ cognitive and functional decline compared to placebo.

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