The British government in collaboration with several worldwide drug producers has managed to raise more than $100 million for world’s first capital fund created for finding prevention methods and treatments for dementia.
The international Dementia Discovery Fund is the first to focus on one disorder that has proven very difficult to treat and is unique in the way it brought together government and private industry. Among the companies that have been and will be involved in the project are Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen Idec and Pfizer.
Britain’s health minister Jeremy Hunt had announced the initiative in Geneva last Tuesday, and it is part of a larger project proposed at a Group of Eight (G8) nations’ conference that took place in London back in December 2013. The countries had set a goal by 2025 to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other various forms of dementia.
Patrick Vallance, director of research and development at GlaxoSmithKline, said in a Reuters interview that finding a cure by 2025 is highly ambitious, but a sure way to help speed things up is to use a common fund that brings together academic groups and small biotech firms in fulfilling their promises.
He added that dementia is definitely a tough nut to crack, but science is making progress as it looks at different subsets of dementia and finds real opportunities for fighting the genetics of neurodegeneration.
J.P. Morgan has worked as financial adviser helping the British government to set up the fund, and he said that there will be more opportunities for new investors who are interested in participating in the project, but further on in the process.
Charity Alzheimer’s Research UK is also involved and it will help provide expert advice, especially at the first phase of the project, which is research. However, if pharmaceutical companies will want to develop independent projects commercially, they will have the chance to bid for the opportunity, and all the funds that come from the bidding process will be used to refill the original fund.
The fund was started by the British government which acts as project leader and has contributed so far with $22 million. Additional funding was provided by GSK ($25 million) and J&J ($10 million), with more funds coming from smaller companies.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, affecting almost 50 million people worldwide and, unfortunately, so far there isn’t a cure or a treatment that can halt the disease’s progression. All that can be done for Alzheimer’s patients is to ease some of their symptoms.
Image Source: Huffington Post