Health-care units of the two companies, Merck & Co and General Electric Co have agreed to collaborate in order to develop an experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease.
Sources from both the companies said that according to this collaboration, GE Healthcare will supply its investigational imaging agent, 'Flutemetamol' while, and Merck will use the imaging agent with its new experimental drug, 'MK-8931' for treating Alzheimer 's disease.
The imaging agent from GE is expected to help in the identification of patients who might benefit from a therapy like the one being developed by Merck. Merck's new drug will target 'beta-amyloid', a protein in human brain. Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease have been found to have plaques in their brain formed due to the clumping of this protein.
Alzheimer's disease is a condition in which patients suffer memory loss and develop other cognitive disturbances as well. The experimental drug from Merck, MK-8931 is the company's leading drug candidate which is designed to modify further progression of the disease and improve symptoms related to it.
After obtaining promising results during early-stage clinical trials of the new drug, Merck plans to move ahead with larger trials. The trials will be conducted at multiple sites all over the world, called EPOCH. G
E'S Flutemetamol is a positron emission tomography-PET imaging agent which has detected beta-amyloids in the brain successfully during clinical trials. Flutemetamol will not only be used to assist in selection of patients for larger clinical trials, but, will also be evaluated as a promising companion diagnostic tool.
The financial and other terms of this new agreement between the two companies have not been disclosed so far.