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Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TKPYY) and partner, Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently initiated a phase III study (TOMMORROW) on pioglitazone. The study is evaluating a genetic-based biomarker risk assignment algorithm (risk assignment algorithm) to detect the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) within five years.

Takeda and Zinfandel are also evaluating the efficacy of pioglitazone in delaying patients from being affected by MCI due to AD. It is evaluating cognitively normal individuals at high risk as determined by the risk assignment algorithm. The algorithm consists of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and TOMM40 genotypes and age. Age and APOE genotype have been earlier proved to elevate the risk of AD.

Takeda mentioned in its press release that the World Alzheimer Report 2010 estimated that dementia in some form or the other affected 35.6 million people across the globe. The incidence of the disease is on the rise and the report indicated that the disease is expected to affect 65.7 million and 115.4 million people globally by 2030 and 2050 respectively. AD is also highly prevalent in the U.S.

We remind investors that the Alzheimer’s disease market is currently extremely competitive with the presence of companies like Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Analyst Report) and Novartis (NVS - Analyst Report). Several other companies are also looking to enter the market.

Earlier this month, Takeda and partner, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. announced the approval of their atypical antipsychotic medication, Latuda, in Switzerland. Approval was granted for treating patients suffering from schizophrenia. Latuda was approved in the U.S. for the treatment of schizophrenia in Oct 2010 and for major depressive episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in Jun 2013.

Takeda carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) look well positioned in the pharma space with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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