Merck & Co. (MRK) is putting the prevailing theory on the cause of Alzheimer’s to a test with two studies in thousands of people that may, once and for all, determine whether the amyloid tangles that grow in the brain spur the disease or are simply an outgrowth.
Merck’s experimental drug, called MK-8931, reduces amyloid, a hallmark sign of the illness, by as much as 90 percent, an unprecedented effect. The new trials, announced this week following a three-month review in 200 patients, seek to enroll more than 3,000 people and will run from 18 months to two years.
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