Bill Gates commits $100m for DDF and start-ups
LONDON: Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is to invest $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), a venture capital fund that brings together industry and government to seek treatments for the brain-wasting disease. Another $50 million in a number of start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research.
The investment is not part of Gates’ philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
With rapidly rising numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the disease is taking a growing emotional and financial toll as people live longer, Gates told Reuters in an interview.
The DDF, which was launched in 2015 and involves pharmamakers Glaxosmithkline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Biogen Idec as well as the UK government, has already invested in at least nine start-up companies investigating potential ways to stop or reverse the biological processes that lead to dementia.
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.
Alongside the $50 million investment in DDF and the additional $50 million planned for start-ups, Gates said he would like to award a grant to build a global dementia data platform.
This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.