In the News: Bill Gates and the Dementia Discovery Fund

Did you know that dementia affects more than 47 million people worldwide and at a cost to the global economy of over $604 billion dollars every year? We recently shared some encouraging and hopeful news based on a recent study that found that between 2000 and 2012, the rate of dementia in the United State decreased from 11.6% to 8.8%. Many have joined the fight to reduce the impact of dementia – including the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF). The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) is a global effort bringing together funding from the private sector, charity, and industry from all over the world.

The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF)

The DDF is a venture capital fund which invests in projects and companies to discover and develop novel, effective disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia. Seven leading pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Biogen, Lilly, Takeda, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Astex, a subsidiary of Otsuka), the UK’s Department of Health, and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK have invested in the DDF to date. Managed by SV Life Sciences Managers LLP, the DDF follows a mandate to validate novel hypotheses and expand the breadth of targets and mechanisms in development for dementia over the 15 year life of the fund.

Recently, Bill Gates invested $50 million in the DDF to accelerate progress towards disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. This personal investment will help the venture capital fund to bring together industry and government, in order to seek treatments for severe memory loss. Gates recently said, “[Dementia] is a huge problem, a growing problem, and the scale of the tragedy – even for the people who stay alive – is very high,” he said. He went on to say, “I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s research and development, in which the Dementia Discovery Fund is playing an important role by exploring new approaches to treat the disease. I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Dementia puts a significant demand on the caregiver’s emotional and financial wellbeing. This personal investment is a significant sign that many other philanthropists will follow. There is hope! With the help of the DDF and its network of public/private partnerships the outlook on dementia research and discovery is quite positive.


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