Back to Alzheimer’s
Reed said they will also talk up J&J’s new bets in Alzheimer’s, where it has programs targeting tau. One is an antibody that goes after what Reed says is a form of tau that hasn’t been targeted by others. And the second is a vaccine.
“We’re trying to make a vaccine to get your own body to make the anti-tau antibodies, which is particularly daring,” Reed said.
Reed said that new advances — particularly in imaging to look for biomarkers of disease progression, but also in health tech tools that might provide better benchmarks for clinical analysis — gave the company the confidence to try new approaches in the space.
“What broke open the Alzheimer’s space was finally being able to do PET imaging for amyloid. And now tau imaging by PET is also available, but that’s only been in the last few years,” Reed said.
Current measures of cognitive function are typically performed by a doctor, who may only see a patient every few weeks. Reed said the company is using new tools — one of which he compared to a handheld video game — to take much finer, frequent measurements.
“Currently, regulators don’t respect those as endpoints that you could use to get an approval,” Reed said. “But at least for internal decision making, they may allow us to have more confidence if we decide to go forward or not.”