Must be received by 5:00 pm ET on the deadline date.

Letter of Intent
January 19, 2018

Invited Full Proposal
February 9, 2018

Letter of Intent
April 13, 2018

Invited Full Proposal
May 11, 2018

Letter of Intent
July 13, 2018

Invited Full Proposal
August 10, 2018

Letter of Intent
October 12, 2018

Invited Full Proposal
November 9, 2018


Average Duration

One year with potential for follow-on funding. Multi-year proposals can be considered.

Average Award

$150,000-$600,000 based on stage and scope of research. For studies requiring additional support, co-funding from other funding agencies or investors is encouraged.


Funding is open to researchers, clinicians, and postdoctoral fellows in the U.S. and worldwide working in:

  • Academic medical centers and universities or nonprofits
  • Biotechnology companies that demonstrate a clear need for nonprofit funding. Funding is provided through mission-related investments (MRIs) that require return on investment based upon scientific and/or business milestones. Existing companies and new spinouts are both eligible.


The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has long recognized the need to bridge the translational funding gap between early-stage drug discovery and clinical development for Alzheimer's disease, related dementias, and cognitive aging by supporting promising therapeutic approaches. The ADDF's Drug Discovery RFP focuses on supporting programs that aim to:

  1. Advance novel lead molecules to the clinical candidate selection stage (defined as compounds suitable for IND-enabling studies); or
  2. Build preclinical evidence in relevant animal models for repurposed/repositioned drugs 

Repurposed refers to existing drugs that are approved for other diseases and conditions and repositioned refers to existing drugs that have entered clinical trials for other indications and have not yet been approved.

Funding Priorities

Drug targets: Proposed molecular targets will be evaluated based on the strength of available evidence that links the target to the disease and demonstrates that modulating its biological activity will improve symptoms or modify disease progression. Targets will be assessed based on the following criteria—

  • Is there human genetic evidence linking the target to the disease?
  • Is the target expressed in disease-relevant regions of the brain (or where applicable, in the periphery) in humans and/or animal models?
  • Are there changes in target mRNA/protein expression or activity in human disease specimens, and do they correlate with disease severity and cognitive functions?
  • Does genetic and/or pharmacological manipulation of the target in disease-relevant in vitro (e.g., primary cultured neurons/glia or cells derived from patient iPSCs) or in vivo models alter disease phenotypes?
  • Are there direct measures of target engagement that can be used experimentally and in humans?
  • How is the target more compelling than other related targets that have been tested for the disease?

Current target areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Neuroprotection
  • Inflammation
  • Vascular function
  • Mitochondria & metabolic function
  • Proteostasis
  • ApoE
  • Epigenetics
  • Synaptic activity & neurotransmitters

This RFP does not support anti-amyloid approaches (e.g., anti-amyloid aggregation, beta-amyloid vaccines, beta- or gamma-secretase inhibitors) and cholinesterase inhibitors.


Stage of discovery: This RFP aims to support in vivo pharmacokinetics, dose-range finding, target engagement, in vivo efficacy, and/or preliminary rodent tolerability studies for novel therapeutics, including small molecules and biologics (e.g., antibodies, oligonucleotides, peptides, gene therapy), and for repurposed/repositioned drugs or natural products. Priority is given to novel drug programs that:

  • Identified a lead molecule or series with in vitro potency (including secondary screens in relevant cell models), selectivity, and toxicity data
  • Assessed the chemical structure of leads for structural liabilities
  • Conducted in vitro ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion) characterization (e.g., solubility, microsomal stability, Caco-2, MDCK, CYP profiling)
  • Possess novel composition of matter intellectual property

Priority is given to repurposed/repositioned drug programs that:

  • Evaluated known side effects of the drug and how well they would be tolerated by the intended clinical population
  • Identified a supplier that will provide sufficient quantities of the drug or compound to complete the study aims
  • Demonstrate plans to develop novel intellectual property around the repurposing/repositioning strategy

For in vivo efficacy studies proposals should:

  • Demonstrate blood-brain barrier penetration (if the intended target is in the CNS)
  • Justify dosing administration and regimen with in vivo PK/PD data
  • Include measures of target engagement

This RFP does NOT support target identification, target validation, assay development, high-throughput and high-content screening, and lead optimization.


Review the Application Instructions for steps on applying.




For program-related inquiries, please contact:
Lauren Friedman, PhD, Director, Scientific Affairs

For application submission inquiries, please contact:
Grants and Mission-Related Investments Team