Alzheimer’s Research UK and J&J to back new US$100m Dementia Discovery Fund

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

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s dementia research charity, is to invest in a new US$100m Dementia Discovery Fund as part of a collaborative initiative led by the UK government.

The fund, announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at today's (17 March) World Health Organization’s conference on the Global Action Against Dementia, will see the charity, the UK Government and pharmaceutical companies, including Biogen, GSK, Johnson & Johnson and Lilly, invest in pioneering research into new treatments.

There are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. The condition, which is caused by brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, results in symptoms including memory loss, confusion and personality changes, which get worse over time. With no treatments yet capable of stopping these diseases, G7 leaders set a target in 2013 to find a cure or disease-modifying treatment by 2025.

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

Alzheimer’s Research UK will invest $5m in the fund over five years, while Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies has pledged $10m through its venture arm, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc, and GSK $25m.

Dr Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: 'The Discovery Fund will bring much needed new money into dementia research, but importantly it 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.'

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