Merck and GE Healthcare have entered a collaboration, license and supply agreement for use of [18F]Flutemetamol, an investigational PET imaging agent, to support Merck's development of MK-8931, an oral beta amyloid precursor protein inhibitor for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
GE Healthcare will supply [18F]Flutemetamol for clinical trials and evaluate this investigational agent as a companion diagnostic tool. A joint Merck and GE Healthcare Imaging Advisory Committee will oversee the studies.
"There is a serious unmet need for a reliable method for measuring beta amyloid deposits to help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at its different stages and study its progression," said Darryle Schoepp, Ph.D., senior vice president, head of neuroscience and ophthalmology, Merck Research Laboratories. "This agreement will allow us to employ an investigational imaging agent to help identify patients who might benefit from an anti-amyloid therapy and enable clinical evaluation of our lead BACE inhibitor candidate for Alzheimer's disease, MK-8931."
“In clinical trials, [18F]Flutemetamol demonstrated consistent performance in the visual detection of beta amyloid in the brain when compared with histopathology data,” said Jonathan Allis, general manager, PET, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics. “[18F]Flutemetamol imaging has the potential to be part of a larger diagnostic workup that may help doctors rule out Alzheimer’s disease by reliably showing the absence of amyloid deposits in patients with unexplained loss of cognitive function.”