Dementia News

23 October 2018
DDF launches new research accelerator partnership with the UK DRI

Dementia Discovery Fund launches new research accelerator partnership with the UK Dementia Research Institute at inaugural Annual Forum for Dementia

D3A will support important research projects with potential to create meaningful new medicines for dementia

London, 23 October 2018 – The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) today announces that it has entered into a new research accelerator partnership with the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) at its inaugural Annual Forum being held in London, UK. The partnership, “D3A”, will provide a series of awards, between £100,000 – £200,000, to support the translation of excellent science into the clinic.

Established in 2015, DDF is the world’s only global fund dedicated to making early stage venture capital investments in companies developing novel disease-modifying dementia medicines. The newly created partnership with UK DRI provides an additional opportunity to stimulate the dementia research field, offering support to academic researchers to pursue potential translational projects to form early-stage, dementia-focused R&D companies.

Angus Grant, CEO of Dementia Discovery Fund, said: “Dementia is arguably the greatest single global healthcare challenge, soon affecting 50 million people worldwide at an estimated annual cost to the global economy of approaching a trillion dollars. The DDF continues to work to identify opportunities to invest in and advance innovative science from idea to the clinic. The launch of our new award, in collaboration with the Dementia Research Institute, is a further step in achieving this goal. DDF is ideally positioned to provide scientists with the funding and business support they need to take their projects through development with the potential, if successful, to form new companies in the future.”

Bart De Strooper, Director of UK Dementia Research Institute, said: “The UK Dementia Research Institute exists to improve our understanding of dementia and translate this knowledge into treatments and services that will improve lives. This huge task is possible when researchers, charities and for-profit initiatives come together. We are very happy to be working with the Dementia Discovery Fund to launch D3A, an exciting accelerator programme that will move our science closer to the clinic.”

Today’s DDF Annual Forum brings together more than 100 key stakeholders in the field to address the challenges and opportunities surrounding dementia drug discovery. Issues of the day include how we are defining Alzheimer’s disease, the challenges of taking novel approaches to therapeutics, the need for translational biomarkers, and how, all stakeholders must work together to find new treatments. 

In June 2018, DDF announced the completion of its fundraising, with £250 million ($350 million at the time of completion) raised from an influential group of strategic investors committed to developing new medicines for dementia. The fundraising far exceeded its initial target of $200 million (£130 million) making it the first and largest venture fund focused entirely on discovering and developing novel therapies for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

DDF’s current portfolio of 16 investments continues to progress with two companies recently entered into the clinic. Alector, a California-based biotech company developing antibody drugs to boost the brain’s immune response to neurodegeneration with an academic founder from Columbia University initiated its Phase 1 trial evaluating AL001, the company’s product candidate for the treatment of a genetically-defined sub-population of patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Cerevance, a start-up company exploiting a powerful novel platform for identifying and validating new disease targets in human brain tissue developed at Rockefeller University and experienced drug discovery scientists in Cambridge, UK commenced dosing in a Phase I first-in-human clinical trial of CVN424, an oral compound being developed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.