Bill Gates invests in Alzheimer’s research

Gates will invest $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund. This will be followed by another $50 million investment in startups working on Alzheimer’s research.

Dementia or brain damage and injury as a mental health and neurology medical symbol with a thinking human organ made of crumpled paper torn in pieces as a creative concept for alzheimer disease.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is joining the fight against Alzheimer’s with a large investment.

On Monday, he announced plans to invest $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund seeking to create treatments for dementia. It’s managed by SV Life Sciences Managers.

The investment is personal and won’t come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates also plans to invest another $50 million in startups working on Alzheimer’s research, according to Reuters.

In a blog post regarding the announcement, the business magnate said the choice partially stemmed from personal reasons.

“This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s,” he wrote. “I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it. It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew.”

After spending time over the past year speaking with Alzheimer’s researchers and experts, Gates determined the field can make advancements by focusing on five areas: understanding how the disease unfolds; focusing on early detection and diagnosis; uncovering approaches to stop the disease; simplifying the clinical trial enrollment process; and making better use of data.

“By improving in each of these areas, I think we can develop an intervention that drastically reduces the impact of Alzheimer’s,” he added.

In a statement, the Alzheimer’s Association applauded Gates’ efforts:

Having Bill Gates declare his dedication to making an impact on accelerating progress is great for the cause. We extend our deep thanks to Bill Gates for his commitment to making the Alzheimer’s cause forward even faster, and extend our open arms in working together to achieve a world without Alzheimer’s.

The commitment is certainly an undertaking. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, according to the Association.

And failure has plagued the Alzheimer’s research field for some time. Last November, Eli Lilly announced that results from its Phase 3 trial of solanezumab didn’t show a reduction or slowing in cognitive decline. In February, Merck revealed its Phase 2/3 trial of verubecestat was halted due to a lack of efficacy. The same month, Accera said the first of its Phase 3 trials for AC-1204 failed to reach its primary endpoints.

One can only hope that Gates’ investment will result in more promising developments.

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