ADDF In Action
The ADDF supports the most promising and diverse research projects around the world to discover new drugs for Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Our grantees cover the early-stage research spectrum, from target validation through early phase clinical trials.
Preclinical Drug Discovery
The ADDF’s preclinical program funds research focused on translating the knowledge we have gained about the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease into drugs. Specific research areas include neuroprotection, tau-related therapies, ApoE, therapies based on knowledge gained from brain stem cell research, anti-amyloid, and other novel therapies. In 2012, 60% of our funding went towards preclinical drug discovery.
Program to Accelerate Clinical Trials (PACT)
While over 300 potential treatments for Alzheimer’s have been shown to be safe and have some positive effect when tested in animals, most of these successful drugs have not been tested in humans because of the increased cost and risk of those studies. In response, the ADDF founded the Program to Accelerate Clinical Trials (PACT) to test these promising drugs for Alzheimer’s, giving innovative programs the chance to generate important safety and “proof-of-concept” data. The ADDF has funded 29 clinical trials.
Through PACT, the ADDF is funding a number of “repurposing” clinical trials. Drug repurposing refers to the testing of drugs originally developed for other indications (e.g., diabetes), for their effectiveness in Alzheimer’s disease. Because these drugs have already passed significant safety tests, the risk of failure is reduced. If they are found to be effective in Alzheimer’s patients, these drugs can be brought more rapidly to market.
Clinical Trials to Accelerate Drugs for Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Repurposing Program
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is now recognized as the earliest clinical stage of Alzheimer's. MCI is characterized by memory loss that is greater than expected for age, and is often accompanied by mild deficits in executive function. Because MCI is an earlier stage of Alzheimer's, it is theorized that treating patients with MCI may have a better chance of success because there is less pre-existing brain damage and more recovery or repair may be possible. In addition, people with MCI are still able to function, so preventing them from progressing to clinical dementia is an important and clinically relevant goal.
Over the last decade, the ADDF has provided $5.95M for 16 repurposing trials in MCI and dementia from Alzheimer’s. Support for these trials has leveraged funding and resources from government, industry and other disease foundations.
ADDF recognizes a number of immediate opportunities for conducting clinical trials of FDA approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. ADDF is now seeking $20M to support several more repurposing studies. We estimate each study to cost approximately $1M-$2M, and expect to support at least 10 repurposing trials specifically for individuals with MCI and early-stage dementia from Alzheimer's. This program has the potential to make a significant impact on the field of Alzheimer’s drug development in a relatively short period of time, at a modest cost and with reduced risk.
For more information or to support this program, please contact Howard Fillit, MD at (212) 901-8000 or email@example.com.
The ADDF partners with different types of organizations to leverage our collective funding power. Examples include partnerships with:
• The Aging + Alzheimer’s Prevention Program was established with ongoing support from an anonymous family foundation. Its mission is to provide a credible scientific voice – for the public and the scientific community – that can evaluate the safety and efficacy of natural products that have been suggested to prevent and delay cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s (e.g., fish oil and other omega-3 fatty acid supplements, caffeine, vitamins, among others).
• The ADDF/Belfer ApoE Therapeutics Innovation Program, established by the ADDF and the Robert A. and Renée E. Belfer Family Foundation, aims to accelerate the development of novel therapeutics specifically designed to target apolipoprotein E (ApoE), the most significant genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s.
• The Charles Evans Foundation has provided substantial support for the Program to Accelerate Clinical Trials (PACT), allowing more drugs to be tested for safety and efficiency in humans. Each year, The Charles Evans Award for Excellence honors individuals whose contributions significantly advance the field of Alzheimer’s drug discovery and awareness.
• The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Grant to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation of Canada supports Canadian clinical trials for novel Alzheimer’s drugs.
• The ADDF has also co-funded grants with The Eranda Foundation, The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, The Teaumen and Grace Fuite Foundation, The David A. and Mildred H. Morse Charitable Trust, and The Spiritus Gladius Foundation.
• ADDF/New York Academy of Sciences Challenge Grant to Accelerate Drug Development for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia challenges scientists to develop short-term, sensitive biomarkers that correlate closely to clinical outcomes.
• ADDF/ADNI Partnership - The ADDF provided a multiyear commitment to fund the Alzheimer’s disease neuroimaging initiative (ADNI) to validate the use of biomarkers including tests of cerebrospinal fluid, and MRI/ PET imaging for Alzheimer's disease (AD) clinical trials and diagnosis.
• ADDF/Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration Partnership to Accelerate Drug Discovery for Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) Program supports drug discovery for FTD and related dementias. The program, now in its 6th consecutive year, has supported 20 programs to date, totaling $2.03M.*
• ADDF/ Lewy Body Dementia Association Biomarker Research Program provides selected programs with support to catalyze a research project focused on developing innovative biomarkers that aid in early diagnosis, detection and disease monitoring of Lewy Body Dementia.
• Collaborative CNS Screening Initiative (CCSI) - The CCSI is a central repository of chemical compounds that have shown significant Central Nervous System (CNS) activity. This initiative is being co-funded by the ADDF, the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
• Alzheimer’s Foundation of America matches ADDF funding to support medical research that advances better treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
• To further leverage our resources, ADDF has also co-funded grants with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom, BrightFocus Foundation, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.
• The ADDF partners with the Michael J. Fox Foundation on our annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegneration Conference.
Industry (Pharma or biotech)
The ADDF collaborates with industry on grant programs and on our annual scientific conferences. Past and present industry partners include:
• Elan Pharmaceuticals
• Charles River
• Biogen Idec
• Satori Pharmeceuticals
• Novo Nordisk
• Zenobia Therapeutics
• Forest Laboratories, Inc.
• SRI International
• Renovo Neural
• Brains Online
• QR Pharma
• JSW Life Sciences
• Seahorse Biosciences
• Neuro Structural Research Laboratories
• Mouse Specifics, Inc
• Allium VitaliS
• Sage Labs
• Siloam Biosciences
• Ekam Imaging
• Neuro Service
• Myriad RBM
ADDF/NIH Collaboration - The ADDF is now considering financial assistance for relevant NIA and NINDS grant applications that were scored but not funded AND fall within the ADDF’s current funding priorities.
The following corporations are vital partners in our efforts to fund the most promising drug research worldwide:
• Ernst & Young LLP
• The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
• First Republic Bank
• Graff Diamonds
• Le Papillon Ltd.
• Merck Research Laboratories
• The Neiman Marcus Group
• Northern Trust
• Saks Fifth Avenue
• Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation
For more information on how your company can align with the ADDF, click here.
The ADDF facilitates critical knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas around the world by actively convening and sponsoring scientific conferences. The ADDF also organizes advisory panels focused on key issues surrounding drug discovery and development for Alzheimer’s. To learn more about these upcoming activities, please visit Conferences or contact Sara Classen, ADDF’s conferences and meetings coordinator at (212) 901-8009.
Drug discovery is a team effort, requiring collaboration between scientists with many different types of experience, from biology to chemistry to pharmacology. To help scientists find access to the expertise they need, the ADDF established the ADDF ACCESS program in 2012. The program connects scientists with networks of collaborators, consultants, contract research organizations (CROs) and experimental tools. It provides Alzheimer’s scientists with educational materials on the drug discovery process and guidance and expertise on the process of selecting and managing CRO relationships. To learn more about the ADDF ACCESS program, please contact Rachel Lane PhD, Assistant Director Scientific Affairs at (212) 901-8017.