East Anglian trust’s £5 million boost to Cambridge dementia drug discovery


By Ed Pinches | Monday 18 June 2018

The ALBORADA Trust has generously pledged £5million to Cambridgeshire-based national charity Alzheimer’s Research UK to support five years of pioneering drug discovery research through the ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Cambridge. The pledge is both the largest commitment ever made by The ALBORADA Trust and the largest ever received by the charity.

The Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance was launched in 2015 with an ambition to accelerate the search for life-changing dementia treatments. The Drug Discovery Alliance comprises three Drug Discovery Institutes (DDIs) at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and University College London and brings together world-leading academic researchers with experts in drug discovery.

The ALBORADA Trust, based in Newmarket, was established by philanthropist Dr Kirsten Rausing and funds important medical research and veterinary causes worldwide, as well as projects in education and disaster relief. The new commitment to The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute, follows from the Trust’s previous support of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Stem Cell Research Centre at the University of Cambridge.

The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute’s pioneering work is led by Chief Scientific Officer Dr John Skidmore and his team of dedicated drug discovery experts under the guidance of Lead Academic Scientist Prof David Rubinsztein, one of Cambridge University’s foremost dementia researchers. The Institute seeks out approaches previously unexplored by the pharmaceutical industry, to discover promising new drug targets against the diseases that cause dementia.

The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute has already developed several lead compounds that have many of the properties required of effective drugs. If they are successful in further studies, there is a clear path to develop these compounds towards testing in people.

Yesterday (15 June), Dr Kirsten Rausing and other Trustees of The ALBORADA Trust visited the Institute to meet the scientists whose groundbreaking efforts will be supported by their generous donation.

Dr John Skidmore, Chief Scientific Officer of The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute, said:

“With this fantastic commitment, our expert drug discovery team of biologists and chemists are able to continue searching for compounds to slow or stop the diseases causing dementia. We are uniquely placed to draw on the wealth of expertise that surrounds us at the University of Cambridge, which will speed up the hunt for key proteins or biological processes that play a critical role in these diseases.”

Jeremy Richardson, Secretary to The ALBORADA Trust, said:

“We are proud to support Alzheimer’s Research UK through The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute and believe that this commitment will accelerate the development for new dementia treatments. We realise that it is only through biomedical research that progress will be made to help the millions of people worldwide affected by these devastating diseases.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“On behalf of the charity and everyone we are here to support, we’d like to express our huge gratitude to The ALBORADA Trust for showing such incredible commitment to the fight against dementia by supporting The ALBORADA Drug Discovery Institute.

“This transformational donation builds on our existing relationship with The ALBORADA Trust, which has already powered pioneering stem cell research in the region to uncover key discoveries about what’s driving diseases like Alzheimer’s. With 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, we must continue to be bold in our approach to dementia research and it’s thanks to donations like this that we can begin to realise our ambitious vision. Today there are no treatments to slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia, but through the efforts of researchers we will deliver the treatments that can change lives.”


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Ed Pinches