$100m Dementia Discovery Fund launches to support pioneering research

Posted on 21st October 2015

UK Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Research UK and major pharmaceutical companies invest in global fund to develop new treatment approaches.

The Dementia Discovery Fund, a groundbreaking new initiative designed to speed up the discovery and development of new treatments for dementia, has launched after securing $100m backing from worldwide investors. The UK Government’s Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, and world-leading pharmaceutical companies including Biogen, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Pfizer and Takeda, have joined forces to support the innovative new fund – a world first for dementia which will invest in pioneering research to help deliver much-needed treatments for the condition.

Leading international life sciences venture capital firm SV Life Sciences (SVLS) has been appointed as Fund Manager, bringing with them a proven track-record of investing in high quality medical research across the globe. Supported by a Scientific Advisory Board made up of world-leading scientists, including representatives from the fund’s investors, SVLS will work to identify innovative new drug development projects for investment, with the aim of finding new treatments capable of altering the course of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and improving symptoms for people affected. The fund will focus on exploring new ideas in dementia research, as well as stimulating further global investment in research into the condition, which currently affects 850,000 people in the UK and 47 million people worldwide.

Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“A fund of this type is a world-first for dementia research, and Alzheimer’s Research UK is delighted to be part of this unique collaboration to bring much-needed new investment into dementia research. By focusing on new approaches for treating the condition, we hope investments made through the fund will increase our chances of delivering treatments to the people who so desperately need them. With no treatments currently able to tackle the diseases that cause dementia, the condition is arguably our greatest medical challenge and this initiative is a vital part of the fightback.”

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said:

“Dementia is a truly devastating disease and one of the biggest global challenges we face, affecting more than 47 million people worldwide.

“Discovering new treatments and continuing to push the boundaries of medical research is incredibly important. That is why the Government has prioritised tackling dementia and are proudly supporting this fund. It is really encouraging to see industry, the charitable sector and experienced investors brought together and collaborating on this ground-breaking work.”

Paul Stoffels, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said:

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the world’s most critical public health problems. To beat this terrible disease, we need to support leading scientists and work collaboratively with industry, government, and other partners to fund promising new science. Together we will advance brain research, leading to innovative, disease-modifying treatments for patients with dementia.”

Dr Jan Lundberg, President of Lilly Research Laboratories, said:

“Lilly is delighted to be a partner in the Dementia Discovery Fund. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most significant challenges the world faces, and we welcome the UK Government and WHO’s leadership in this area.  The UK is a great place for science and discovery, and we believe this fund will provide the resources to help advance vital research. Our investment in this fund reflects Lilly’s commitment to innovation, and our history of collaboration. We look forward to working as a part of this collaboration to speed the discovery of new medicines to treat one of the world’s most devastating diseases.”

Patrick Vallance, President of Pharmaceuticals R&D at GSK, said:

“The scientific community’s most powerful tool in its fight against dementia is collaboration, to stimulate new avenues of drug discovery. This is a complex and costly area of research, and if we’re to succeed in developing innovative new treatments, we must be prepared to work together and jointly shoulder the risk of ambitious new approaches. This new fund provides the framework for us to do precisely that, bringing together world-leaders in dementia research and combining resources to invest in exciting potential new therapies and start up companies.”

Andrew Plump, MD, PhD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, said:

“The formation of The Dementia Discovery Fund will bring together the best minds in scientific research to tackle this debilitating disease with the opportunity to change the future of medicine. Takeda is proud to be a founding partner in this unique initiative to help patients reclaim valuable moments of their life from illness.”

Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, President of Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer, said:

“Dementia is a growing global epidemic, the effects of which are devastating not only for patients, but also for families and communities. We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort with the UK government and our industry peers to harness the leading scientific expertise that will advance the prospects for cures and therapies for Dementia patients.”

Posted in Policy news, Science news