The European Medicines Agency has said no to approving a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in the EU.

Aducanumab does not appear to be effective at treating adults with early-stage symptoms, the EMA said.

Alzheimer’s charities say they are disappointed by the decision because thousands of people are left with no treatment options.

The drug – the first new treatment for 20 years – was controversially approved in the US in June.

At the time, many scientists said there was little evidence from trials of it being of benefit despite it targeting amyloid – a protein that forms abnormal clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Biogen, the manufacturer of the drug, can ask for the EMA’s decision to be re-examined within the next two weeks.

It’s not known whether the company will submit a separate application for approval to the UK regulator, the MHRA.

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