Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates can be to invest $50 million inside the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund that will brings together industry along with government to seek treatments for the brain-wasting disease.
The investment — a personal one along with not part of Gates’ philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — will be followed by another $50 million in start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research, Gates said.
With rapidly rising numbers of people suffering via Alzheimer’s along with various other forms of dementia, the disease can be taking a growing emotional along with financial toll as people live longer, Gates told Reuters in an interview.
“the item’s a huge problem, a growing problem, along with the scale of the tragedy — even for the people who stay alive — can be very high,” he said.
Despite decades of scientific research, there can be no treatment that will can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Current drugs can do no more than ease some of the symptoms.
Gates said, however, that will with focused along with well-funded innovation, he’s “optimistic” treatments can be found, even if they might be more than a decade away.
“the item’ll take probably 10 years before brand new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success. So the item’s very hard to hazard a guess (when an effective drug might be developed).
“I wish that will inside the next 10 years that will we have some powerful drugs, nevertheless the item’s possible that will won’t be achieved.”
Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s can be the most common form, affects close to 50 million people worldwide along with can be anticipated to affect more than 131 million by 2050, according to the non-profit campaign group Alzheimer’s Disease International.
The DDF, which was launched in 2015 along with involves drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, along with Biogen Idec, as well as the U.K. government, has already invested in at least nine start-up companies investigating potential ways to stop or reverse the biological processes that will lead to dementia.
Gates told Reuters the additional $50 million would likely be put into start-ups working on some “less mainstream” approaches to the disease nevertheless said he had not yet identified these companies.
The philanthropist, whose usual focus can be on infectious diseases in poorer countries, said Alzheimer’s caught his interest partly for personal reasons, along with partly because the item has so far proved such a tough nut to crack.
“I know how awful the item can be to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity … the item feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that will you knew,” he said in a blog post about the dementia investments.
“Some of the men in my family have suffered via Alzheimer’s, nevertheless I wouldn’t say that will’s the sole reason” (due to This specific investment),” he added.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society charity, welcomed Gates’ “significant personal investment,” saying the item would likely speed up progress toward a cure along with help reduce stigma around dementia: “With Bill Gates at This specific point joining all those already united against dementia, there can be brand new wish for advances inside the care along with cure of dementia,” he said in a statement.
Through talking to experts inside the field over the past year, Gates said he had identified all 5 areas of need: Understanding better how Alzheimer’s unfolds, detecting along with diagnosing the item earlier, pursuing multiple approaches to trying to halt the disease, generating the item easier for people to take part in clinical trials of potential brand new medicines, along with using data better.
“My background at Microsoft along with my (Gates) Foundation background say to me that will a data-driven contribution might be an area where I can help add some value,” he said.
Alongside the $50 million investment in DDF along with the additional $50 million planned for start-ups, Gates said he would likely like to award a grant to build a global dementia data platform. This specific would likely make the item easier for researchers to look for patterns along with identify brand new pathways for treatment, he said.