More than 65% of pipeline products in the Alzheimer’s disease space with a disclosed molecular target have been identified as ‘first-in-class’ according to a new report.

Analysts GBI Research say there are 646 products in active development, several of which not only have first-in-class potential, but which also target multiple associated indications such as anxiety and depression, highlighting shared pathophysiological processes.

Alzheimer’s research has seen an extremely high clinical trial failure rate in recent years, but GBI analyst Fiona Chisholm said the area “maintains a strong level of innovation, with many pipeline products specifically targeting proteins widely considered to be underlying factors in disease progression”.

While established targets such as amyloid beta (Aβ) and microtubule-associated protein tau account for a proportion of the first-in-class pipeline, there are more innovative targets such as those implicated in lipid metabolism and the inflammatory aspects of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Chisholm continued: “This likely reflects continued developments in the understanding of disease pathophysiology, the significant unmet needs associated with current treatments, and the rising prevalence population, which brings with it economic and social costs.

“Any product capable of demonstrating superiority over current therapies in terms of safety or efficacy – even in modest terms – could therefore prove to be extremely lucrative in the Alzheimer’s disease market.”