Collaboration, with Support from the ADDF’s Diagnostics Accelerator, Will Create Funding Opportunities to Advance Potential Biomarkers in Related Neurodegenerative Diseases.
The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and Target ALS announced today a new partnership to identify and develop biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD). Discovery and validation of biomarkers will help researchers diagnose these diseases earlier, track their progression reliably and efficiently assess the effects of new drugs, leading to more efficient clinical trials.
The partnership, which includes financial support from the ADDF’s Diagnostics Accelerator – a global research effort initiated by ADDF Co-Founder Leonard A. Lauder and Bill Gates with support from other leading philanthropists to fast-track the development of biomarkers and diagnostic tools – will create new funding opportunities for approximately six to ten biomarker-focused research projects over the next two years. A request for proposals will be issued on January 5, 2022.
Research has shown that neurodegenerative diseases like AD, ALS and FTD are heterogeneous in nature at the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic levels, but they also share common features. Project funding established through this new partnership will advance the long-standing search for biomarkers in each of these diseases as well as provide insights into their heterogeneity.
“While each neurodegenerative disease is different, they also share overlapping genetics, molecular mechanisms and pathways that scientists can investigate to advance new effective treatments and reliable biomarkers,” said Target ALS CEO Manish Raisinghani, Ph.D. M.B.B.S. “The key is to encourage cross-pollination of ideas and engagement of experts across research communities, which is what we are fostering by establishing funding opportunities through this innovative partnership.”
“The ADDF is excited to embark on this new partnership with Target ALS as collaboration is essential in expanding our scientific knowledge of all neurodegenerative diseases so we can deliver effective treatments for patients and families with ALS, Alzheimer’s and other related dementias,” said Howard Fillit, M.D., Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer at the ADDF. “We are committed to investing in and developing novel biomarkers that will provide us with accessible, inexpensive and accurate ways to diagnose patients earlier than ever before and pave the way for new and innovative therapies.”
“The recent news from Target ALS founder Dan Doctoroff of his likely ALS diagnosis underscores the importance of not only this partnership but of initiatives like it, which seek to improve the lives of those battling this debilitating disease,” said Niranjan Bose, Managing Director of Health & Life Sciences at Gates Ventures. “Together, we will advance research into biomarkers which, once discovered, will have applications for fighting ALS, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Target ALS and ADDF partnership will consider proposals for novel peripheral (i.e., blood and other body fluids) and digital biomarkers at all stages of development, from proof-of-concept pilot studies through to validation with a substantial body of human data and commercialization stages. Candidate biomarkers should correspond with disease pathophysiology—targeting at least one of the many underlying biological factors that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases that are in or likely to be in clinical phase testing soon.
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ABOUT THE ALZHEIMER’S DRUG DISCOVERY FOUNDATION
Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. The ADDF is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has awarded more than $168 million to fund over 650 Alzheimer’s drug discovery and biomarker programs and clinical trials in 19 countries. To learn more, please visit: http://www.alzdiscovery.org/.
ABOUT TARGET ALS
Target ALS is a 501(c)(3) medical research foundation committed to the search for effective treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We envision a world in which no one dies of ALS, and we play a unique role in the battle against this disease. Founded in 2013 by former New York City deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff — who lost both his father and uncle to ALS — our approach is breaking down barriers and silos that have historically inhibited research results. We do this through our Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem, which facilitates unparalleled collaboration between researchers from academia and the pharma/biotech industry. The Target ALS Innovation Ecosystem has revolutionized the field in just seven years through collaborations that have resulted in the first potential treatments since ALS was identified in 1869, including six drugs now in clinical trials. For more about Target ALS, visit www.targetals.org.
ABOUT THE DIAGNOSTICS ACCELERATOR
The Diagnostics Accelerator, created in July 2018, is a partnership of funders with funding commitments totaling nearly $50 million over three years from partners including ADDF Co-Founder Leonard A. Lauder, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott, the Dolby family, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, among others, to develop novel biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
This research initiative is dedicated to accelerating the development of affordable and accessible biomarkers to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and advance the clinical development of more targeted treatments. Through translational research awards and access to consulting support from industry experts, this program will challenge, assist and fund the research community in both academia and industry to develop novel peripheral and digital biomarkers.