The goal of the recently launched Human Brain Project, a massive collaboration that involves 80 universities and institutes, is to create a computer simulation of the human brain. The project recently won a 1 billion-euro grant from the European Commission, and many hope that this study will demystify not only how the brain works, but also the mechanism of action behind brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Last year was both disappointing and exciting for pharmaceutical companies trying to find new cures for this devastating disease. Bapineuzumab, an antibody that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and Elan (UNKNOWN:ELN.DL) were working on, failed to meet its primary endpoint in a clinical trial last year and is no longer in development. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) had mixed success with a phase 3 candidate, and Merck (NYSE: MRK) also has a drug that is poised to enter late-stage development. In this video, health-care analyst Max Macaluso reviews the state of Alzheimer's research at Big Pharma companies and talks about the potential impact of the Human Brain Project.

Max Macaluso, Ph.D., has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.