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Bill Gates has made his first move to support Alzheimer’s disease research, with a $50m investment in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund. The DDF provides venture finance for companies developing innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases.
Mr Gates, 62, has become the biggest philanthropic funder of health research through the $40bn Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses mainly on diseases of the developing world.
Now he has begun to invest some of his personal wealth, estimated at about $90bn, in Alzheimer’s — one of the greatest health problems in the ageing populations of industrialised countries. “It is the only cause of death in the top 10 without any meaningful treatments that is becoming more prevalent each year,” he said.
In addition to the $50m DDF investment, Mr Gates told the FT: “I’ll put at least as much as the $50m into other private investments and I’ll probably over time put the same amount into grants.”
The grants will help to build the infrastructure required to process the torrents of disparate data pouring out of Alzheimer’s labs in the private and public sectors around the world.
“I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s research and development, in which the Dementia Discovery Fund is playing an important role by exploring new approaches to treat the disease,” he said. “I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.”