Evaluation of the efficacy, safety and tolerability of orally administered BI 409306, a novel phosphodiesterase type 9 inhibitor, in two randomised controlled phase II studies in patients with prodromal and mild Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2019 Feb 12;11(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s13195-019-0467-2.


Background: There are currently no approved treatments for the prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Approved symptomatic treatments for mild-to-moderate AD include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and memantine, but more efficacious treatments are needed. BI 409306 is a potent and selective phosphodiesterase 9 inhibitor assessed for the symptomatic treatment of AD. Efficacy and safety of BI 409306 was analysed in two phase II proof-of-concept clinical trials in cognitive impairment associated with prodromal AD (study 1) and mild AD (study 2).

Methods: Two multicentre, double-blind, parallel-group, randomised controlled phase II studies were conducted (North America/Europe). Following study run-in, eligible subjects were randomised to one of four oral doses of BI 409306 (10-50 mg daily) or placebo (1:1:1:1:2 ratio) for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was the change from baseline in Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB) total z-score after 12 weeks' treatment. Secondary efficacy assessments included change from baseline in Clinical Dementia Rating scale-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB), Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog11) and Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living scale (ADCS-ADL; mild cognitive impairment [MCI] version for prodromal patients) after 12 weeks' treatment. Safety and tolerability assessments included adverse event reporting and vital sign monitoring. Change from baseline in NTB total z-score (primary endpoint) and CDR-SB were analysed using the restricted maximum likelihood-based mixed-effects model with repeated measurement. An analysis of covariance model was used to assess other secondary endpoints.

Results: Four hundred fifty-seven patients were randomised (study 1 for prodromal AD, N = 128; study 2 for mild AD, N = 329); 427 (93.4%) completed. A prespecified pooled analysis of the primary endpoint revealed no significant changes in NTB total composite z-score at week 12 in the BI 409306 treatment groups compared with placebo, with similar findings observed in the individual studies. The analysis of all secondary endpoints, including pooled analysis of CDR-SB and ADAS-Cog11, ADCS-MCI-ADL (study 1), ADCS-ADL (study 2), also gave no indication of a treatment benefit for BI 409306, compared with placebo. BI 409306 was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Overall, the data do not demonstrate efficacy of BI 409306 in improving cognition in patients with prodromal and mild AD. BI 409306 is well tolerated.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02240693 and NCT02337907 . Registered 15 September 2014 and 09 January 2015, respectively.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Neuropsychological test battery; Phosphodiesterase type 9 inhibitor; Prodromal stage; Safety; Treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / metabolism
  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Prodromal Symptoms*
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • BI 409306
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases
  • PDE9A protein, human

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02240693
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02337907