Awarded through AARP's Brain Health Fund, the funding will support research on and the development of breakthrough treatments for dementia, which affects more than six million people in the United States, including those with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. By 2050, that figure is expected to exceed sixteen million, or about one in five Americans age 65 and older.
DDF is a public-private venture fund created by the United Kingdom's Department of Health, nonprofit Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK), and leading pharmaceutical companies, including Biogen, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Company, Otsuka (Astex), Pfizer, and Takeda. Made to mark the sixtieth anniversary of AARP, the investment is the largest to DDF to date, topping the $50 million investment announced by Bill Gates last year.
According to AARP, hundreds of clinical dementia trials have failed, and advances once thought promising have turned into dead ends. Indeed, several drug companies have stopped conducting research on age-related dementias altogether. DDF aims to kick-start a different approach to dementia research by bringing together the world's best minds and applying the venture capital model common in Silicon Valley. Founded in 2015, the fund has already invested in sixteen organizations exploring new pathways for treating dementia.
"It's time to invest in research and in hope," said AARP CEO JoAnn Jenkins in a video about the funding. "By disrupting dementia, we will empower more people to choose how they live as they age."