Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates today announced that he will invest $50 million of his own money into Alzheimer’s research. The money will go to the U.K.-based Dementia Discovery Fund, which invests in small companies developing new therapeutic approaches to the disease (Mar 2015 news).
In a post on his blog, Gates explained that he was impelled to get involved when he recognized the tremendous social and financial costs of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a personal family history. He cited the 2015 World Alzheimer’s Report, which projected that more than 130 million people worldwide will have dementia by 2050 (Aug 2015 news). In the U.S., direct costs of AD are estimated to total $259 billion in 2017.
In his blog, Gates discussed the importance of developing a diverse drug pipeline beyond just amyloid and tau. He plans to invest an additional $50 million directly into Alzheimer’s startups, according to Reuters (Reuters, Nov 2017). His blog mentioned several other areas of need, including a blood test for AD, faster enrollment for trials, and creating a central repository for AD data. These are all areas of active investigation in the field (Jul 2017 conference news; Aug 2016 conference news; Nov 2016 news). “With all of the new tools and theories in development, I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s R&D,” Gates wrote.—Madolyn Bowman Rogers.
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