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Will a small Lausanne-based company succeed in an area where pharma giants have been stuck for years? In 2016, two big US laboratories, Eli Lilly and Merck, announced, one right after the other, that they were giving up on their most advanced treatment for Alzheimer’s following inconclusive clinical trials. Since then, AC Immune has been in a perfect position to become the first pharma to market an Alzheimer’s drug.
“We recommend purchasing shares in AC Immune,” said Lorenzo Biasio, analyst at Credit Suisse, “as we like its diversified pipeline of treatments for Alzheimer’s, one of the most expensive diseases in the world, one that currently does not have decent treatment options.” Characterised by a progressive destruction of neurons, Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 30 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization. This number is expected to triple by 2050, notably because of the ageing global population.
Compared to its competitors, the company is ahead, with five molecules in development: “AC Immune stands out because it has a portfolio of several drug candidates that correspond with the various expected treatments,” said Biasio. The company also tests diagnostic tools for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as molecules – at a lesser stage of development – to treat Parkinson’s, Down’s Syndrome and glaucoma.