Canadian drugmaker Neurochem ( NRMX) will soon put the leading scientific theory behind Alzheimer's disease to a major clinical test.The theory -- dubbed the "beta-amyloid hypothesis" -- says that Alzheimer's is caused by protein plaques that accumulate in the brain, damaging and eventually killing nerve cells. These plaques consist of sticky protein fragments called beta-amyloid. If a drug could be found that stops or slows the formation of beta-amyloid plaques -- or even clears them from the brain -- it might halt or even reverse the loss of memory and cognitive function that is the devastating mark of Alzheimer's. That drug would be a super-blockbuster, easily generating billions of dollars in sales. Neurochem believes it has the drug that fits the bill. The company's Alzhemed is being tested in two large, phase III clinical trials. The first of these trials, conducted in North America enrolling 1,052 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's, is complete and data should be released around April or May. (Neurochem shares closed Friday down 11 cents to $17.76.) At the recent JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, Neurochem CEO Francesco Bellini showed off some blinded data from the phase III trial that he said indicated Alzhemed was working as planned. During a breakout session with investors, Bellini said there was a lot of interest from potential partners for Alzhemed and that a deal might easily be made even before the phase III clinical data is released. (His latter comment seemed as much a show of confidence in Alzhemed as it was a dare to short-sellers to remain exposed to the stock.) Well, I don't share Bellini's confidence, and I don't think you should either. I'm a data guy -- I like to see solid and ample evidence of a drug's efficacy before drinking the Kool-Aid. With Alzhemed, I don't believe we have either.