News Release

Bill Gates invests $50m in Dementia Discovery Fund

13 November 2017

  • Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) welcomes investment in research
  • No new treatment for dementia since 2002 – there is no cure for dementia

London, 13 November 2017 – Bill Gates has invested USD $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund leading innovative research into dementia. ADI applauds the landmark move, that it is hoped will aid the development of new treatment options for 50 million people affected by dementia.

Dementia will become a trillion-dollar disease in 2018 and is the only major chronic disease area that does not have a cure or effective treatment. Gates acknowledged the financial and human impact of the disease, urging that more research was needed to better understand the disease, that innovation was needed to involve more people in clinical trials and that data can play a critical role to shape the future; “This is a frontier where we can dramatically improve human life.

People should be able to enjoy their later years – and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s to fulfill that. I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Paola Barbarino, CEO of ADI said, The entry of such a high profile private investor into the dementia market is welcome news. There is still so little we know about this devastating disease and such a significant and timely contribution towards finding a solution is greatly welcomed.

The areas identified by the fund, and innovation in particular, are all of great interest to ADI, our members and partners. We hope that this announcement will reinvigorate the investment environment around dementia and prompt more investors to pool resources.”

Investment by governments and other high-profile donors can dramatically enhance efforts to reduce the impact of dementia. ADI recommends that 1 per cent of the cost of dementia is invested in dementia research, working with key stakeholders including people with dementia and their care partners to support clinical trials, earlier diagnosis and research in low and middle-income countries.

The news follows the adoption of a global plan on dementia by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017. The plan outlines seven targets for improving the response to dementia worldwide by 2025, including expanding the role of ‘big’ data including through the upcoming launch of the WHO Global Dementia Observatory in December.

ADI welcomes the experience and investment of Gates, that recognises the importance of this area, and supports a new era of collaboration and innovation to improve the lives of people with dementia, their care partners and their families globally.

The Dementia Discovery Fund provides a platform for collaboration between civil society, industry and government to fund novel and early stage approaches to identifying potential treatments. Alzheimer’s Disease International is the global voice on dementia, representing 90 Alzheimer associations worldwide.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact:

James Smith
Communications and Policy Officer
Alzheimer’s Disease International
T: +44 (0) 20 79810880

Available for interview

  • Paola Barbarino, CEO, Alzheimer’s Disease International
  • Chris Lynch, Policy, Communications and Publications Director and Deputy CEO

About Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)

ADI is the international federation of 90 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI's vision is prevention, care and inclusion today, and cure tomorrow. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. ADI works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for persons with dementia and their care partners, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change. For more information, please visit

About the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF)

The DDF is a venture capital fund which invest in projects and companies to discover and develop novel, effective disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia. Seven leading pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Biogen, Lilly, Takeda, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Astex, a subsidiary of Otsuka), the UK’s Department of Health and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK have invested in the DDF to date. Heads of Neuroscience and R&D represent these strategic investors on the DDF Scientific Advisory Board and work closely with SV’s dedicated team of neuroscientists and experts to identify and evaluate novel approaches for the treatment of dementia. SV Health Investors, formerly SV Life Sciences, is a leading healthcare and life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm. Find out more at