Business, diagnostic imaging  

Schering and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals to develop imaging agents to detect Alzheimer's disease

25 July 2006

Berlin, Germany. Schering AG, (FSE: SCH, NYSE: SHR) and American company Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc. have agreed to collaborate to develop novel diagnostic imaging agents for aiding early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

The compounds made by Avid directly bind to the amyloid plaques in the brain that are thought to cause Alzheimer's disease. They can be used with a variety of common, non-invasive imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. The potential of this compound class to accumulate preferentially in brain structures of Alzheimer's patients with high amyloid beta load has already been demonstrated in pilot human studies.

The lack of methods for definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease remains a significant impediment for the management of Alzheimer's patients, as well as for the development of new therapies for this devastating condition.

Under the terms of the agreement, Schering will have the option to assume exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of such compounds for use with PET scanning technology.

"We are committed to driving progress in the growing field of molecular imaging," said Dr. Hans Maier, Head of Global Business Unit Diagnostic Imaging at Schering. "With this novel approach we could be amongst the first to offer a method for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease using objective physical measures. We are looking forward to investigating the promise of such innovative agents."

"This collaboration validates our novel approach for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and provides us with additional resources to develop our broad pipeline of molecular imaging pharmaceuticals," said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., President and C.E.O. of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals. "We are particularly pleased to establish our first product collaboration with Schering AG given their strong commercial presence and track record as a global pioneer in the development of diagnostic imaging agents."

Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 4.5 million people in the United States alone. That number has doubled since 1980 and is expected to exceed 12 million people by 2050 as the U.S. population ages. Worldwide representative epidemiological surveys estimate that 24.3 million people suffer from dementia today with about 4.6 million new cases every year. The number of people affected will double every 20 years to an estimated 81.1 million by 2040. Of these cases 50% to 75% are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

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