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Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, Pharma Firms Form Biobank Alliance

NEW YORK — The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) said on Wednesday that it has partnered with four global pharmaceutical companies to create an Alzheimer's disease biobank for biomarker research.

ADDF also said that it has awarded nearly $3 million in new research grants supporting the development of new Alzheimer's disease diagnostic technologies.

Under the biobank agreements, Roche, Shionogi, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Eisai will provide ADDF with specimens, including blood and cerebrospinal fluid, from Alzheimer's disease patients who participated in seven Phase II and Phase III studies completed by the companies.

To gain access to the biobank, researchers must submit proposals establishing "a clear biological rationale for the biomarker and a plan for how the samples will be used," with the companies ultimately deciding which proposals are accepted, ADDF said.

"Our collaborations with each of these companies combine to bridge a significant gap, giving researchers access to thousands of high-quality biological samples that would otherwise take them a great deal of time and money to secure," ADDF CSO and Founding Executive Director Howard Fillit said in a statement.

The new grants include up to $1.9 million to San Diego-based molecular diagnostics firm Biological Dynamics to advance a technology for detecting Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in exosomes; up to $363,000 to Villejuif, France-based NeoNeuro to develop an aptamer platform for Alzheimer's disease diagnosis; and up to $497,652 to Barcelona-based Admit Therapeutics to develop a blood-based Alzheimer's disease test based on DNA modifications. 

The biobanking agreements and the research grants are being overseen by ADDF's Diagnostics Accelerator, a partnership between the charity and various philanthropic partners. In April, ADDF announced up to $1.9 million in Diagnostics Accelerator grants.