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Alzheimer's Initiative Launches With $30M From Bill Gates, Others

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Bill Gates and Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation Leonard Lauder today announced a new initiative to develop new biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Gates, Lauder, and others have committed more than $30 million to the initiative called Diagnostics Accelerator. Other philanthropists who are providing funding include the Dolby family and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.

As a venture philanthropy vehicle, Diagnostics Accelerator will have the flexibility to back cutting-edge research that may not have immediate commercial return, ADDF said in a statement, adding it will balance taking more risks than traditional venture capital funds with being more focused on developing real products for the marketplace than basic research funded by governments or charitable organizations.

Diagnostics Accelerator will also support the development of new drugs for new targets, such as inflammation and epigenetics.

ADDF Founding Executive Director and CSO Howard Fillit said in a statement that the importance of biomarkers in Alzheimer's research "is underscored by recent [US Food and Drug Administration] guidelines that recognize the critical role of biomarkers in drug development, and shift the research definition of the early stages of the disease to include biomarkers, even before clinical symptoms become apparent."

The FDA guidance and a new research framework on Alzheimer's are expected to increase the use of biomarker diagnostics for evaluating the disease, experts recently told 360Dx.

Funding from Diagnostics Accelerator is open to scientists and clinicians in the US and worldwide working in academic medical centers, universities, and other nonprofits. Industry partnership is encouraged, as well. Funding is open also to biotechnology companies.