AbbVie is the latest pharma firm to join the UK-led dementia consortium, a £4 million collaboration between academia, charity and the private sector that strives to find new drug treatments for dementia.

The company joins medical research charity MRC Technology, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and pharmaceutical companies Astex, Eisai and Lilly, bringing additional expertise, resources and capital to the Consortium that should enable more projects to be funded.

Jim Summers, who heads Neuroscience Discovery Research at AbbVie, says the Consortium’s “innovative approach to validating new drug targets is an important component of our strategy to develop new therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.”

Welcoming AbbVie to the group, Simon Ridley, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We need to explore as many different approaches as possible, and our growing range of pharma partnerships will ensure we can continue to invest in a diverse range of projects to build drug discovery pipelines”.

To date, the Consortium has awarded over £1.5 million to early stage drug discovery efforts for neurodegenerative diseases, including projects that target the immune system in a bid to halt nerve cell damage in Alzheimer’s and a project studying targeting TDP-43 aggregation in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).