Alzheimer’s Research UK to back $100m new Dementia Discovery Fund

Posted on 17th March 2015

Leading charity, UK government and pharmaceutical companies join forces to invest in pioneering research

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, is to invest in a $100m new Dementia Discovery Fund as part of a collaborative initiative led by the UK government. The fund, which was announced today by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the World Health Organization’s conference on the Global Action Against Dementia, will see Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK Government and major pharmaceutical companies invest in pioneering research into new treatments.

Currently 850,000 people are living with dementia across the UK. The condition, which is caused by brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, results in distressing symptoms including memory loss, confusion and personality changes, which get worse over time. With no treatments yet capable of stopping these diseases in their tracks, G7 leaders set an ambition in 2013 to find a cure or disease-modifying treatment by 2025. Today’s Ministerial Conference in Geneva will see the World Health Organization discuss how this agenda can be taken forward on a global scale.

The Dementia Discovery Fund will invest in innovative pre-clinical research aimed at developing new drugs to treat dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK, together with pharmaceutical companies including Biogen, GSK, J&J and Lilly, have committed in principle to invest in the project, with Alzheimer’s Research UK to invest $5m in the fund over five years. The fund was kick-started with a £15m commitment from the UK government in the autumn.

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

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is delighted to be part of this unique and innovative initiative, a world first for dementia research. The Discovery Fund will bring much needed new money into dementia research, but importantly also represents a new way of doing things. It will ensure some of the best minds in commercial drug discovery focus their efforts on dementia, widening the breadth of focus in the area and increasing our chances of success. At Alzheimer’s Research UK we have developed a number of key strategic initiatives aimed at getting treatments to patients as quickly as possible and the Dementia Discovery Fund complements these. It will harness the combined expertise and resources of government, the private sector, and the leading dementia research charity to scour the globe for promising assets that offer the best chance of being turned into effective treatments.”

The UK Government Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

“Dementia is a global threat and we have taken enormous steps in putting this condition on the international health agenda. But there is still much more we need to do to give people with dementia hope for the future.

“That’s why I am delighted to say today that Alzheimer’s Research UK has committed to develop this Fund to make sure that innovative research turns into new drug development. Between us I am confident we can make significant steps in our fight against dementia.”

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