An experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug that targets what some scientists are calling “type 3 diabetes” has been approved for a late-stage clinical trial by the Food and Drug Administration.

Growing evidence suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is triggered by a form of inflammation and insulin resistance, that is similar to type 2 diabetes, and occurs specifically in the brain, according to drugmaker NeurMedix, based in San Diego. In addition, up to 81% of Alzheimer’s disease patients may have impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes, according to Terren Peizer, chairman and CEO.

“We believe NE3107 reduces neuroinflammation and restores insulin sensitivity, and thereby may halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Peizer said. 

The drug candidate, NE3107, is an oral, anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing agent that may be able to reach the brain by penetrating the notoriously protective blood brain barrier. This is something other anti-inflammatory medications have not yet been able to effectively accomplish, among other things, the company said.

The new phase 3 trial will recruit U.S. participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.