Craig Thompson, Cerevance CEO

Mer­ck makes first big splash for Alzheimer’s drug R&D since 2017 fail, ink­ing re­search pact with Cere­vance

For the first time since dis­con­tin­u­ing its late-stage Alzheimer’s pro­gram, Mer­ck has found promise on the path for­ward in the mem­o­ry-rob­bing dis­ease.

Af­ter a Phase III flop of its drug verube­ce­s­tat, the New Jer­sey Big Phar­ma axed the study in ear­ly 2018. More than four years lat­er, the com­pa­ny is ready to sign up for an­oth­er pact to test the wa­ters of the be­fud­dling dis­ease.

This time, there’s $1.1 bil­lion in biobucks on the line and a tar­get that its part­ner says no oth­er bio­phar­ma is look­ing at en route to find­ing the next treat­ment for Alzheimer’s, a neu­ro­science field that has hit hur­dle af­ter hur­dle for decades.

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