Drugmakers, UK start $100M venture fund to speed creation of drugs for Alzheimer's, dementia

IndustriesAssociated Press

Major drugmakers, the British government and the charity Alzheimer's Research UK are pooling more than $100 million to create a global fund to accelerate efforts to find a treatment or even a cure for the mind-robbing disease in a decade.

The new Dementia Discovery Fund will function like a venture capital fund. It will identify promising laboratory discoveries in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, then give small biotech companies money needed to begin testing in patients.

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The fund is being announced Tuesday in Geneva at the World Health Organization's first conference on dementia.

Initial funders include Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Biogen Idec, drugmakers all doing research on dementia.

Dementia affects about 47 million people and costs the global economy more than $604 billion annually.