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Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation Nabs $50M From New Funders

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has received $50 million in potential funding from new funders for its Diagnostics Accelerator initiative. The new funding brings the project’s total capital to $100 million, which will be used to develop new tests for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and related conditions. The Diagnostics Accelerator was launched in 2018.

The new funders include Biogen, Eli Lilly & Company, the NFL Players Association and the Shanahan Family Foundation. Their contributions, along with those from other entities, join funding from inaugural funders the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, the Dolby Family, Leonard A. Lauder, MacKenzie Scott and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. The ADDF was founded by Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder in 1998.

“The day will soon come when there will be blood tests, eye scans and smart phone apps to diagnose Alzheimer’s, just as simple tests can diagnose hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol,” ADDF co-founder and Chief Science Officer Howard Fillit said via a statement. “We cannot slow or stop the course of Alzheimer’s disease without first finding a simple way to diagnose it early, and with support from strategic partnerships like the Diagnostics Accelerator we are well on our way. Our aim is to bring more diagnostic tools to patients and physicians within the next five years.”

According to a statement from ADDF, more than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with half being undiagnosed. That number is anticipated to triple by 2060. Alzheimer’s can begin making changes within the brain a decade or more before symptoms manifest, making early detection essential. In addition to early detection activities, tools developed by the ADDF are also seen as improving clinical test design and advancing potential treatments.

“Four years ago, we launched the Diagnostics Accelerator with the ADDF to accelerate new research to find a simple yet reliable test to diagnose Alzheimer’s early in its progression,” Gates Ventures Managing Director, Health & Life Sciences Niranjan Bose said in a statement. “Thanks to the work of the funded researchers, there are now dozens of new biomarkers in the pipeline, which are critical to advancing new therapeutics for Alzheimer’s and helping us better understand this disease.”

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