Merck and GE Healthcare Collaborate on Alzheimer's Disease Research

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Merck and GE Healthcare announced a clinical study collaboration to support the development of MK-8931, an oral beta amyloid precursor protein site cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor and Merck’s lead investigative candidate for treating Alzheimer’s Disease. GE will license and supply [18F]Flutemetamol, an investigational PET imaging agent, to Merck for use in their clinical trials with MK-8931.

Beta amyloid accumulation in the brain is an indicator of Alzheimer's Disease, but current methods of diagnosis cannot reliably measure beta amyloid deposits in the brain during the different stages of Alzheimer's, according to the press release. [18F]Flutemetamol has demonstrated consistency in visual detection of amyloid deposits in the brain and can enable clinical evaluation of the BACE inhibitor, which early results have shown to reduce beta amyloid formation.

"“[18F]Flutemetamol imaging has the potential to be part of a larger diagnostic workup that may help doctors rule out Alzheimer’s disease by reliably showing the absence of amyloid deposits in patients with unexplained loss of cognitive function,” said Jonathan Allis, general manager, PET, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics, in the press release.