The failure of two monoclonal antibodies, bapineuzumab and solanezumab, to meet their primary end point measures in phase 3 clinical testing for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a serious blow to the field. These drugs were targeting the Abeta peptide, as were three previous drugs that also failed to meet their primary end points. These findings will call into question the role that Abeta plays in AD and will also provoke much circumspection in ‘big pharma’ as to whether they can continue to invest in clinical research in such an intractable disease. However, there is much data yet to be published on these trials and a careful analysis, and cross-comparison of all of the data may well provide insights that will take the field closer to the phase 3 clinical success that is desperately needed by patients and healthcare providers worldwide. Although these failures are disappointing, now is not the time to falter in our pursuit of medicines for this devastating disease.