ARTICLE | Strategy

Motivation for Medivation

September 8, 2008 7:00 AM UTC

With Aricept donepezil due to go off patent in 2010 and its lead program for Alzheimer's disease in Phase II, Pfizer Inc. was looking for a program to plug the gap in its AD pipeline. The pharma committed $225 million up front last week for Medivation Inc.'s dimebon, which is in a confirmatory Phase III trial. Data so far indicate dimebon could work longer and in more patients than do current drugs.

AD treatments provide symptomatic cognitive benefits for a brief period, after which doctors may switch drugs or take the patient off drugs altogether. Marketed AD drugs fall into two classes: acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, which counter the loss of acetylcholine caused by death of cholinergic neurons, or NMDA receptor antagonists, which inhibit neuronal cell death caused by overstimulation of glutamate receptors...