AADvac1, an Active Immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Non Alzheimer Tauopathies: An Overview of Preclinical and Clinical Development

  • P. NovakEmail author
  • N. Zilka
  • M. Zilkova
  • B. Kovacech
  • R. Skrabana
  • M. Ondrus
  • L. Fialova
  • E. Kontsekova
  • M. Otto
  • M. Novak


Neurofibrillary tau protein pathology is closely associated with the progression and phenotype of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies, and a high-priority target for disease-modifying therapies. Herein, we provide an overview of the development of AADvac1, an active immunotherapy against tau pathology, and tau epitopes that are potential targets for immunotherapy. The vaccine leads to the production of antibodies that target conformational epitopes in the microtubule-binding region of tau, with the aim to prevent tau aggregation and spreading of pathology, and promote tau clearance. The therapeutic potential of the vaccine was evaluated in transgenic rats and mice expressing truncated, non mutant tau protein, which faithfully replicate of human tau pathology. Treatment with AADvac1 resulted in reduction of neurofibrillary pathology and insoluble tau in their brains, and amelioration of their deleterious phenotype. The vaccine was highly immunogenic in humans, inducing production of IgG antibodies against the tau peptide in 29/30 treated elderly patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s. These antibodies were able to recognise insoluble tau proteins in Alzheimer patients’ brains. Treatment with AADvac1 proved to be remarkably safe, with injection site reactions being the only adverse event tied to treatment. AADvac1 is currently being investigated in a phase 2 study in Alzheimer’s disease, and a phase 1 study in non-fluent primary progressive aphasia, a neurodegenerative disorder with a high tau pathology component.

Key words

tau Alzheimer’s disease tauopathy immunotherapy clinical trial 


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Copyright information

© Serdi Edition 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Novak
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. Zilka
    • 2
  • M. Zilkova
    • 2
  • B. Kovacech
    • 2
  • R. Skrabana
    • 2
  • M. Ondrus
    • 1
  • L. Fialova
    • 2
  • E. Kontsekova
    • 2
  • M. Otto
    • 3
  • M. Novak
    • 4
  1. 1.AXON Neuroscience CRM Services SEBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.AXON Neuroscience R&D Services SEBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.Ulm University, Department of NeurologyUlmGermany
  4. 4.AXON Neuroscience SELarnacaCyprus

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