Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, along with Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) co-founder Leonard Lauder, has launched a new initiative to develop novel tools for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease.
Under Diagnostics Accelerator initiative, Gates and Lauder will fund more than $30m to develop novel biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Gates said: “Imagine a world where diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is as simple as getting your blood tested during your annual physical. Research suggests that future isn’t that far off, and Diagnostics Accelerator moves us one step closer.”
The initiative on Alzheimer’s disease is also supported by a group of other philanthropists, including Dolby family and Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.
Diagnostics Accelerator is a venture philanthropy vehicle and an innovative model, which provides flexibility for cutting-edge research and did not expect immediate commercial return.
According to ADDF, the Diagnostics Accelerator will take more risks than traditional venture capital funds and will focus on developing real products for the marketplace than than basic research funded by governments or charitable organizations.
The initiative will focus on the development of novel drugs for new targets such as inflammation and epigenetics.
The scientists and clinicians from the US and worldwide working in Academic medical centers, universities, or other nonprofit organizations can secured the funding via Diagnostics Accelerator for their research activities.
For biotechnology companies, funding will be provided through mission-related investments that need return on investment. Existing companies and new spinouts are both eligible for funding.
ADDF will conduct in-depth scientific due diligence on each proposal to the Diagnostics Accelerator.
Lauder said: “Over the next three years, we will provide more than $30 million in grants to researchers who are working on the most promising and innovative ideas to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early before the more devastating symptoms occur.”
The ADDF was established in 1998 to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease.
The organization focuses on the preclinical drug discovery and early-stage clinical trials of potential drug targets.