Joining Forces with Industry Leaders to End Alzheimer’s

By Howard Fillit, MD

The search for drugs that slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease is no small task. That’s why the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation has long collaborated with a diverse group of public and private sector partners—like the National Institute on Aging, Merck and The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration—to leverage our collective knowledge, experience and funding power.

Our latest collaboration, the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP), is one of the most exciting examples to date. This five-year public-private partnership brings together the NIH, 10 biopharmaceutical companies, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and a number of other nonprofit organizations in a $230 million initiative to transform the current model of developing new diagnostics and treatments for major diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The partnership will kick off with multi-year pilot projects in three key disease areas: Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus. With $129.5 million in dedicated funding, Alzheimer’s disease will constitute the largest area of exploration. The ultimate goal is to lessen the time and cost of developing new drugs, and increase the number of diagnostics and therapies available to patients.  Researchers will focus on characterizing “biomarkers”—molecular indicators of various diseases—and identifying the biological targets most likely to respond to new therapies.

As a member of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, I will represent the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation on the Alzheimer’s Steering Committee, which is tasked with the management of the Alzheimer’s research arm of the initiative. I am thrilled to be a part of this ambitious partnership. Collaborations like these will play a crucial role in the discovery of effective treatments—and a cure—for Alzheimer’s disease.

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