Money and Alzheimer’s – the big-bucks battle.

I don’t know how many people have read about the California based drug study battle going on right now. It has major implications for both funders and researchers alike. It has even bigger ramifications for people with dementia. It is a lesson to be learned about cooperation within the dementia industry and the backstabbing that can occur when money becomes involved.

I could copy the article here for you but a link is more informative as there have been many articles on this and now there are going to be many documents published by lawyers and court clerks – all over an Alzheimer’s drug that shows a lot of potential.

The Players

  • The landmark Alzheimer’s A4 Study of solanezumab “in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease in older individuals who have evidence of amyloid in their brains on a PET scan, but do not show symptoms of memory impairment.”
  • UCSD – Univ. of California at San Diego Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) under a contract from the National Institute on Aging
  • USC – which founded a new Alzheimers’ institute of its own in San Diego. (both USC and UCSD are great schools both do tremendous research in the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s)
  • NIA – Grantmaker – both UCSD and USC get billions of dollars from the NIH each year
  • Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals and up to $76 million in grant funding promised to UCSD
  • Dr. Paul Aisen, who had been director of ADCS and principle investigator for the Study, who left UCSD for USC this summer along with many of the ADCS staff.
  • San Diego Superior Court
  • research data involving more than 1,000 patients
  • Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Assn..
    The international nonprofit, which pushes for improved care for Alzheimer’s patients and research into possible cures, recently awarded a four-year, $8-million grant for a Harvard-based study linked to the work at UC San Diego. The association wants “a speedy resolution” of the lawsuit to keep the research on track, Carrillo said.

Long story short – a $100 million Alzheimer study at UCSD has been disrupted by the takeover effort by USC of the study, the principle investigator and the funding. Reputations are at stake in that grantmakers look for stability and collaboration.

There is expected to be a long legal battle over rights to the study itself (and the results of course). NIH has asserted that the study and NIH funding go with the Institution. Eli Lilly is taking the position of pulling their money out of UCSD and moving it to where the P.I. goes – they believe they OWN the rights to the study, the data and the P.I.

Lawyers will get rich. Data will be wasted due to time lapses and changing ownership. NIH will be changing its grant-making process to discern and clarify implied cooperation on grants. And patients – remember them – get more delays in a promising treatment (not a cure).

Here’s the first in a series of links that will walk you through the labyrinth – This really is as good as any thriller you might find on TV. There is no way this won’t be made into a movie with Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Gary Sinese and Tom Hanks and a host of M.I. team members. Let the battle begin …..

Want to know more? Join me at the Memory Café at Elements in Biddeford next Thursday, August 13, for more in-depth discussion. Maybe by then I can make contact with one of the players for a live discussion. 11am … hope you remember.

Kenneth Capron

About Kenneth Capron

Ken Capron comes from a medical background. His Dad was Maine’s 3rd radiologist. His Mom a Mass General nurse. His sister a Physical Therapist in Maryland. His oldest sister was a Resident Manager of a senior housing facility in Maryland. Ken himself was trained as a CPA with a focus on non-profits and healthcare. He worked as Controller at Wentworth-Douglas in Dover and then six years as Director of Accounting at Maine Med. Ken likes to say he’s had 16 different careers – from Real Estate Broker to hobby store owner. Ken also is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. In 2013, Ken founded MemoryWorks to provide support to people with dementia, their caregivers and all the providers that care for PWD.