GE Healthcare, a global medical device manufacturer, announced in a press release that it would license flutemetamol, an Alzheimer’s imaging agent, to Merck. The imaging agent will be used in certain trials for MK-8931. MK-8931 is an agent that may hold promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a press release by the company, flutemetamol is first injected into a patient’s blood stream before PET scans. Once in the brain, flutemetamol interacts with certain protein structures that indicate the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. These structures, known as beta amyloid deposits, are believed by many researchers to be biomarkers for the disease.
Under the arrangement by the two companies, both flutemetamol and MK-4931 will be used in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. With flutemetamol, healthcare providers can quickly and easily detect the presence of structures that may indicate an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. With Merck’s MK-4931, healthcare providers can inhibit a certain enzyme in patients that is associated with the development of amyloid beta peptides.
Darryle Schoepp is senior vice president at Merck. In prepared remarks, he said, "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.”