A health-care start-up called Partner Therapeutics began last year with a single product: a leukemia medicine approved in 1991 that doctors rarely prescribe anymore. The drug, Leukine, made so little money that its previous owner did not even bother to disclose sales. It just dumped them on revenue reports under “other.”
But now researchers in Colorado are testing Leukine’s ability to regulate the immune system as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The possible reinvention of a three-decade-old off-patent drug is among alternative approaches receiving fresh attention in Alzheimer’s research after broad failures by major drug companies.