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.DL2) 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.