The promising things that we do say in the data set is that the drug effect does appear to be increasing on multiple parameters over that period of 6 to 18 months.
So in open label extension studies in real world usage, now that we've seen accelerated approval of this class, could we see potential additional benefit beyond 27%? That is something that we're all hoping to see.
In terms of what the prior class of drugs did that are really just managing the symptoms of the disease, similar sort of improvement in terms of a numbers perspective; but you always progress and you do not slow the course of disease on those therapies.
So the real promise of this new class would be that they are potentially disease modifying, they slow the course of disease progression, which is very unique and differentiated in the class. But what the recent breakthrough suggests now is that there is real tangible value to actually a disease modifying therapy or the potential to be one, and that you can start to see potential returns on investment.
So we're talking about an R&D cost per program in Alzheimer's disease, about $5.6 billion. That's the estimates. And so that's a significant chunk of capital for big pharma to put up at risk, not knowing whether they're going to have a drug at the end of the day that's effective for patients. And that's what we're in the game for.
I think as we're starting to see capital returning to the sector for these Alzheimer's disease and chronic neurodegenerative names, what's really exciting are going to be next generation amyloid therapies. So playing on better efficacy of what we've just shown in the clinic with this drug class. We can see additional therapies targeting tau, which is the other protein that has gone haywire and Alzheimer's disease. And we are seeing those clinical trials in later stages. And then things like inflammation and vasculature disturbances, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease but just haven't really been targeted therapeutically. All of that clinical work is currently ongoing.
And I think what's really exciting about the first approvals in this anti-amyloid drug class is the ability for combination therapy. So what happens when you remove amyloid and then you add on one of these additional therapies? Do you get a situation where you’ve got one plus one equals two for efficacy, or is there some symbiosis happening here where you’ve got one plus one equals three and that’s going to be a better outcome for patients and obviously returning capital to the sector and getting a return on investment.
I think the real tangible benefits are what is this drug doing for the benefit of the patient, for their families, for their caregivers? So when I wake up in the morning and I remember that I have to make my own bed, I have to have breakfast, I want to have breakfast with my family, I want to have a conversation and remember who they are. That’s the real benefit that we’re implying. And so is that worth $26,500 a year or the price of reimbursement that is associated with that, or is it not? That is going to remain up to debate. But the fact is that this is what the promise of the drug could actually deliver, which we actually haven’t had before. We’ve had no disease modifying therapies approved in this indication.