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Bill Gates invests $50 million to fight Alzheimer's
13 November 2017, 08:06 | Lena Norman
Bill Gates personally donates $100 million to Alzheimer's research
The two-year-old DDF-which is run by venture capital firm SV Health and backed by several big biopharma companies and medical charity Alzheimer's Research U.K. -is focused on backing groups that discover and develop disease-modifying drugs for Alzheimer's, which despite decades of research can still only be treated with a handful of drugs with limited efficacy.
The progress of the disease cannot be slowed with current treatments, which at best can only ease the symptoms.
Mr. Gates said in his blog post that while men in his family suffer from Alzheimer's, his personal connection to the disease is not the only reason for the investment. He says he's hopeful that in time Alzheimer's could be a chronic condition treatable with medication. Gates says he hopes that drugs to help Alzheimers sufferers will be developed within ten years, but said "it's possible that won't be achieved".
Skills and habits learned early in life are among the last abilities that will be forgotten, as the disease progresses to the part of the brain where this deep, personal information is stored.
Gates told Reuters the additional $50 million would be put into start-ups working on some "less mainstream" approaches to the disease, but said he had not yet identified these companies.
"It's a awful disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones", Gates wrote in his blog post.
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"My personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease", he writes.
At least 5 million people in the USA are living with Alzheimer's and that number could grow to 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City, U.S., September 20.
"My background at Microsoft and my (Gates) Foundation background say to me that a data-driven contribution might be an area where I can help add some value", he said.
Gates writes about his own personal experience dealing with loved ones who've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, noting that the human cost "is much more hard to put into numbers". Before 2050, the total number of dementia casesis expected to hit 130 million, about 30 million in countries that aren't yet wealthy. People should be able to enjoy their later years - and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer's to fulfill that.
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