Pharma giants including GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have teamed up with the UK government and Alzheimer’s Research UK to launch the $100-million Dementia Discovery Fund.

The Fund is an innovative new global investment cashpot that will underpin development of new approaches to the disease, aiming for earlier diagnosis and new therapies that modify its course and improve symptoms by 2025. 

GSK is bringing £25 million to the Fund, Johnson & Johnson £10 million, AR UK £5 million and around £22 million is coming from the UK government. Other partners are yet to divulge their contributions, a spokesperson for the Fund said.

Around 44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, but this figure is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050, placing a huge and unprecedented strain on global healthcare systems if better treatments are not discovered. 

The DDF will work collaboratively with universities, academic institutes and the industry internationally to identify and invest in novel dementia research projects and support them through the preclinical phase, enabling further development in clinical trials. 

Priorities are to explore and develop novel hypotheses in dementia research and to increase global interest and industry confidence in the value of dementia research.

Life sciences venture capital firm SV Life Sciences has been appointed as Fund Manager to handle the cash side of things, while a “world-class” Scientific Advisory Board, with representatives from the DDF’s strategic investors and world-leading international academics will share expertise, expand collaborative networks and advise the investment team.

Kate Bingham, a managing partner at SV Life Sciences, told the Guardian that the fund should be able to move quickly, within weeks if necessary, and a spokeswoman for DDF told PharmaTimes Digital that the first projects for investment could potentially be selected as early as next month.