Biology on the mind

How the Dementia Discovery Fund plans to find new neurodegeneration solutions

Less than a year and a half after its launch, the Dementia Discovery Fund has spawned four new companies and invested almost 10% of the roughly $100 million it raised in 2015. With a goal of pushing forward new therapeutics that go beyond the amyloid hypothesis, the firm believes it can make enough small bets in enough new areas to kick-start discovery in Alzheimer’s disease.

On March 15, DDF announced its latest seed investment with a £400,000 ($496,760) commitment to Autifony Therapeutics Ltd., a hearing loss company whose platform could have overlapping biology with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

On Feb. 28, DDF made its first infrastructure investment with the purchase of a 513,000 compound, CNS-focused small molecule library from Aptuit LLC, and the formation of a subsidiary, DDF ChemCo Ltd., to manage the library. The deal includes a strategic partnership, allowing DDF companies, partners and collaborators to run high throughput screens for molecules with the right properties for CNS drug discovery.

The idea is to provide researchers with a quick, easy way to get relevant molecules to screen that they wouldn’t get in other ways, said

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