Bill Gates is at it again and this time he has his eyes on Alzheimer’s disease with a $50 million dollar investment into the Dementia Discovery Fund based in the U.K. The fund is only two years old and is ran by a VC firm called SV Health and backed by a number of big pharma companies and medical charity Alzheimer’s Research U.K. The firm is focused on supporting groups that conduct R&D on diseases modifying drugs for Alzheimer’s, regardless of years of full of research and limited treatment options.
This will be the first time, that billionaire Bill Gates, has used its financial means to fight against this disease, and the additional investment will permit the DDF to endorse more companies and recruit other personnel, including a CEO to spearhead the fund. Gates reported that he will go into his own pockets to fund DDF, making sure the investment remains separate from the $40 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is strongly focused to diseases, affected the developing world like polio and malaria. He reported to the Financial Times that the $50M donation would be matched by other private equity investments and future grants.
“I’m making this investment on my own, not through the foundation,” stated Gates.
“The first Alzheimer’s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first. Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries.”
Gates reported that his main objectives are to get a clearer understanding of the disease process, enhance R&D data, and create a more versatile drug pipeline.
Since the beginning, the DDF has attracted other big-name investors. Earlier this year biotech investment influencer Neil Woodford committed to nearly $19 million U.S. dollars to the fund, becoming the first investor ahead of its main big pharma founders such as Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda, ARUK and the U.K. government.
“The DDF team believes there is a significant opportunity to develop dementia drugs targeting biological pathways beyond the prevailing amyloid beta hypothesis and to apply insights from areas such as oncology and immunology to develop novel drugs targeting these other biological pathways that may drive different forms of dementia,” the fund stated.