Alzheimer'sThe Dementia Consortium, a unique charity-private partnership, has announced Astex Pharmaceuticals (Astex) as a new member. The Consortium is a £3.5m cross-sector drug discovery collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, MRC Technology and the pharmaceutical companies Eisai, Lilly and now Astex.

Astex will bring not only knowledge and resource but additional capital investment to help fund projects. By uniting expertise, this focused investment will bridge the gap between academic research and the pharmaceutical industry, in the search for drugs that slow the development of neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia. The Dementia Consortium is open to global research teams and funds robust target validation and early phase drug discovery to accelerate progress through the translational research pipeline.

To date, the Consortium has awarded around £800,000 of funding for research projects focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), the most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 50.

Dr Lee Dawson, Vice President of CNS at Astex, commented: “The biological mechanisms that underpin the pathology of dementia are incredibly complex, and new opportunities for possible therapeutic intervention can only be developed by pooling research knowledge and know-how from across academic, charity and industry sectors.  Astex is excited about becoming a partner in the Dementia Consortium and we look forward to applying our expertise in drug discovery and fragment-based drug design to this endeavour.”

Dr Simon Ridley, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “We are delighted to welcome Astex on board, to broaden ties with industrial partners and bring new perspectives to the Consortium. The collaborative model of the Dementia Consortium brings world leading expertise and capabilities together, to accelerate progress from academic laboratories across the world into much sought-after treatments in the clinic.”

For further information about the consortium please visit http://www.dementiaconsortium.org/.