Bill Gate an entrepreneur, a businessman and Microsoft co-founder is set to devote $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DFF), an enterprise capital fund that brings together business and government to seek treatments for the brain-wasting disease.
The investment is not part of his philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will be followed with different $50 million in a number of start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research, Gates said.
With fast increasing numbers of people subjected to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the disease is taking a growing touching and financial damage as people live longer, Gates said this in an interview.
“It’s a massive issue, a bigger problem, and the scale of the disaster even for the people who remain alive – is very high,” he said.
Despite years of scientific research, there is no treatment that can lower the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Bill Gates said, however, that with concentration and well-funded innovation, he’s “hopeful” that treatments can be discovered, even if it takes more than a decade away.
“I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some strong drugs, but it’s likely that won’t be reached.”
Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most regular form, affects close to 50 million people globally and is require to affect more than 131 million come 2050, as stated by the non-profit campaign group Alzheimer’s Disease International.
In 2015 DFF was Launched and includes drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Biogen Idec and also the UK government, has already put money in at least nine start-up companies investigating likely ways to halt or change the biological processes that lead to dementia.
Gates told Reuters that the extra $50 million would be invest in start-ups working on some “less mainstream”
approaches to the disease, but said he had not yet identified these companies.
“I know how disgusting it is to see people you love fighting as the disease deprive them of their mental capacity.
He added: “Some of the men in my family have been hurt by Alzheimer’s, but I wouldn’t say that’s the main reason” (for this investment).
By talking to professionals in the field over the past year, Gates said he had pick out five areas of need: Understanding better how Alzheimer’s happens, discovering and diagnosing it earlier, chasing many approaches to stop the disease.
“My background at Microsoft and my Foundation background say to me that a data-driven donation might be an area where I can assist and add some value,” he said.
With the $50 million investment in DDF and the extra $50 million proposed for start-ups, Gates said he would like to award a permit to build a global dementia data platform.
This would make it undemanding for researchers to look for patterns and recognize new pathways for treatment, he said.