$10M Fund for Brain Degeneration Research Created by Lauder, Newhouse Foundations

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

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The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) have announced a partnership to find a drug to cure or slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases caused by the degeneration of neurons.

The Lauder Foundation and the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation will each invest $5 million for the development of effective therapies for frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). The initiative could also result in discoveries and improvements that may benefit and improve the quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients.

The $10 million investment will create The Treat FTD Fund, which will hopefully accelerate clinical trials targeting this condition. The fund is a joint program from ADDF and AFTD, and has the potential of advancing therapies for other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“My brother and co-chairman, Ronald, and I founded the ADDF to find treatments for Alzheimer’s and other causes of dementia. Partnerships have always been an important part of that mission because they allow us to combine resources and to develop effective drugs faster,” said Leonard A. Lauder, co-chairman of the ADDF Board, in a news release.

“The challenge of developing effective treatments for persons with FTD calls for an ‘all hands on deck’ effort. Collaborations like this one will bring great scientists to work on FTD, and set a tone of hope for what NIH and the private sector can achieve together,” added Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The partners are optimistic that the collaboration will encourage more investment in drug and clinical research for FTD and other neurodegenerative diseases. While the organizations will support the investigation of new drugs, repurpose of medicines is also a priority. This allows drugs approved for one disease to be used in another — a strategy that saves enormous amounts of money and time in the drug-developing process.

The organizations will also build on successes in early-drug and biomarker discovery from both foundations. A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be announced this summer. It will be available at www.alzdiscovery.org and www.theaftd.org.