By Shi En Kim | March 12, 2022  | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 9

Image credit: Yang H. Ku/C&EN/Shutterstock

The antiamyloid approach may not be just about prohibiting plaque production from the get-go. Some experts think it’s more effective to target Aβ midstream—once the monomers misfold and cluster into oligomers but before they harden into plaques. The oligomeric form of Aβ is often thought to be the instigator of neuronal death. A key to plaque prevention could lie in shutting down these oligomers.

The Massachusetts-based company Alzheon claims it’s the closest to the first oral treatment for Alzheimer’s, with an oligomer-ousting molecule called ALZ-801 making its way through the clinic. According to Chief Scientific Officer John Hey, the company’s drug candidate contorts the shape of Aβ monomers to bar them from stacking into longer oligomers and plaques.

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