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Launch of Dementia Discovery Fund - New Fund Raises $100 Million to Deliver Novel Approaches to Treatment of Dementia

20.10.2015 23:01 | Business Wire

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The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), an innovative new global investment fund to support discovery and development of novel dementia treatments has launched, raising $100 Million from investors including the UK Government’s Department of Health (DoH) and Alzheimer’s Research UK alongside world-leading major pharmaceutical companies including Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Pfizer and Takeda.

SV Life Sciences (SVLS), a leading international life sciences venture capital firm, has been appointed as Fund Manager, bringing to the DDF a proven global track record of identifying and supporting the development of novel therapeutic approaches in a range of clinical indications including neuroscience. A world-class Scientific Advisory Board, with representatives from the DDF’s strategic investors and world-leading international academics is being set up to share expertise, expand the DDF’s collaborative networks and advise the investment team.

The DDF has been established to deliver new drug approaches for dementia by 2025 to diagnose and intervene early to modify the course of disease while improving symptoms and thereby laying the foundations for effective therapies.

The DDF will work collaboratively with universities, academic institutes and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry internationally to identify novel dementia research projects and nurture these through the pre-clinical phase, enabling further development in clinical trials. The DDF’s 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.

Kate Bingham, Managing Partner of SV Life Sciences, commented: “Developing new treatments for dementia is hugely important but also enormously challenging. Very few new therapies have become available in recent years and those on the market all address symptoms and have no effect on the underlying disease. By creating a new source of funding for innovative dementia research and working creatively with researchers, entrepreneurs, charities, industry and Government, we believe the DDF can make a significant difference to the identification and development of new treatment approaches.”

Commenting on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry investors, Patrick Vallance, President, Pharmaceuticals R&D, GSK, said: “The scientific community's most powerful tool in its fight against dementia is collaboration, to stimulate new avenues of drug discovery. This is a complex and costly area of research, and if we're to succeed in developing innovative new treatments, we must be prepared to work together and jointly shoulder the risk of ambitious new approaches. This new fund provides the framework for us to do precisely that, bringing together world-leaders in dementia research and combining resources to invest in exciting potential new therapies and start-up companies."

Sir David Cooksey GBE Hon FMedSci, who has been advising the Department of Health, added: “This unique initiative will bring much needed new money into dementia research but more importantly represents a new way of doing things. It will ensure some of the best minds in government, industry and the investment community combine their efforts on dementia and create a new path for innovative research to be turned into effective and game-changing treatments.”

Dr Dennis Gillings CBE, World Dementia Envoy, added: “Dementia is a ticking bomb and with the global cost of dementia care expected to reach over $1 trillion by 2030 we must continue to do more. Research is currently not delivering the results we need; we need early and accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and improved care and support to avoid serious economic and social impacts. Emanating from the World Dementia Council, the DDF aims to unlock investment and encourage innovation in dementia research and development for this critical global health issue."

Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “A fund of this type is a world-first for dementia research, and Alzheimer’s Research UK is delighted to be part of this unique collaboration to bring much-needed new investment into dementia research. By focusing on new approaches for treating the condition, we hope investments made through the fund will increase our chances of delivering treatments to the people who so desperately need them. With no treatments currently able to tackle the diseases that cause dementia, the condition is arguably our greatest medical challenge and this initiative is a vital part of the fightback.”

About the Dementia Discovery Fund

The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) is an innovative global investment fund established in October 2015 to deliver new drug approaches for dementia by 2025 to diagnose, intervene early and treat to modify the course and symptoms of the disease. The DDF, managed by SV Life Sciences, has raised $100 Million from investors including the UK Government’s Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Research UK and world-leading major pharmaceutical companies: Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Pfizer and Takeda. The DDF will work collaboratively with universities, academic institutes, Government, the regulatory agencies and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry internationally to identify and develop novel dementia research projects.

About SV Life Sciences

SV Life Sciences is a leading international life sciences venture capital firm. SVLS affiliated funds have been investing in life sciences companies since the early 1980s and the firm closed its first dedicated life sciences fund in 1994.

The SVLS team manages five private venture capital funds with approximately $1.9 billion of capital under management. The firm employs a diversified strategy within life sciences in order to selectively capitalise on an expanding opportunity in biotech, medical devices and health-care services. SVLS has offices in Boston, London and San Francisco.

Alzheimer’s Research UK

ARUK is the UK's leading Alzheimer's research charity aiming to defeat dementia. ARUK powers world class studies that give the best chance of beating dementia sooner and the charity’s pioneering work focuses on prevention, treatment and cure. ARUK is energising a movement across society to support, fund and take part in dementia research and they aim to empower people across all generations through greater understanding of dementia.

About Biogen

Through cutting-edge science and medicine, Biogen discovers, develops and delivers to patients worldwide innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions and autoimmune disorders. Founded in 1978, Biogen is one of the world’s oldest independent biotechnology companies and patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis and innovative haemophilia therapies.

About GSK

GSK is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. It is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

About Johnson & Johnson

Caring for the world one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson embraces research and science - bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Their approximately 127,000 employees at more than 265 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world. Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. is the venture capital subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It is comprised of experts and leaders in the health care and technology venture communities who identify early market indicators, health care trends, and strategic investment opportunities.

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. It was founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today it remains true to that mission in all its work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit www.lilly.com and http://newsroom.lilly.com/social-channels.

About Pfizer Inc.

Pfizer applies science and its global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve lives. It strives to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Its global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer staff work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with their responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, they collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on them. To learn more, please visit www.pfizer.com.

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with a main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to striving towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESS RELEASE IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT DDF FOR THOSE WITH AN INTEREST IN DEMENTIA RESEARCH. PLEASE NOTE THAT AN INVESTMENT IN DDF IS NOT AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. INTERESTS IN DDF ARE BEING DISTRIBUTED ON A PRIVATE PLACEMENT BASIS TO PERSONS WHO ARE, OR MAY BE TREATED ON REQUEST AS, PROFESSIONAL CLIENTS WITHIN THE MEANING OF ANNEX II OF THE MARKETS IN FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS DIRECTIVE (2004/39/EC)).

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT FOR PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS NOT AN OFFER OF SECURITIES FOR SALE INTO THE UNITED STATES. THE SECURITIES REFERRED TO HEREIN HAVE NOT BEEN AND WILL NOT BE REGISTERED UNDER THE U.S. SECURITIES ACT OF 1933, AS AMENDED, AND MAY NOT BE OFFERED OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT PURSUANT TO AN APPLICABLE EXEMPTION FROM REGISTRATION. NO PUBLIC OFFERING OF SECURITIES IS BEING MADE IN THE UNITED STATES.

Contact information

Dementia Discovery Fund
Carol Routledge, Venture Partner
+44 20 7421 7091
carol.routledge@svlsm.com
or
Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott, Chris Gardner, Amber Fennell, Ivar Milligan
+44 20 3709 5700
DDF@consilium-comms.com

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