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What is the Dementia Consortium?

The Dementia Consortium is a pre-competitive, collaborative model that bridges the gap between university research and drug discovery. It brings together experts in target biology from academia and drug discovery experts from industry.

What does the Dementia Consortium offer?

The Dementia Consortium provides funding and in-kind support for research projects typically 2 to 3 years in duration.  It also provides successful applicants with collaborative access to a dedicated team of neuroscience drug discovery experts from industry.

Project teams will have access to state-of-the-art technology and know-how including

  • high throughput screening
  • high content screening
  • structural biology and biophysical screening assays
  • complex biochemical and cellular assays
  • compound screening libraries
  • hit identification and expansion
  • medicinal chemistry and tool molecule development
  • fragment-based drug discovery
  • DMPK and ADME
  • in vivo PK/PD
  • in vivo neurodegenerative disease models

Successful applicants will have regular project meetings with their team of industry collaborators and this interaction will be facilitated and led by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Alzheimer’s Research UK oversee all Dementia Consortium projects from confirming academic research findings in feasibility studies through to target validation and tool molecule generation studies. Validated targets may be moved towards future pre-clinical and clinical studies with the potential for licencing to Industry Partners and revenue streams for the most successful projects.  The ultimate aim of the Dementia Consortium is to bring benefit to patients through accelerated dementia drug discovery and the development of new treatments.

What kind of projects are the Dementia Consortium looking to fund?

The Dementia Consortium is looking for novel targets in the areas of neurodegeneration and the diseases that cause dementia. Targets will have been identified by scientists at academic institutions in the UK and worldwide. The approaches considered can cover all aspects of dementia therapy, from treating the underlying pathology to improving cognition and other mental symptoms.

In remit applications should include:

  • Projects focused on novel molecular targets in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, tauopathies, vascular dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Huntingdon’s disease.
  • Robust preliminary evidence linking a novel target to human disease e.g. evidence that target modulation (genetic or otherwise) may have a therapeutic effect.
  • Primary applicants or collaborators with strong biology expertise in the target.
  • Demonstrable access to assays, reagents and disease models.

The following applications are not in remit for funding:

  • Projects focused on well-studied targets and pathways for neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Projects with advanced chemistry e.g. lead/candidate molecules already synthesised and requiring only in vivo PK studies, preclinical proof-of-concept studies or IND-enabling studies.
  • Repurposing of existing drugs, although we will consider optimisation of tool / literature compounds to improve selectivity, potency, bioavailability, etc. or use of tools for target validation.
  • Non-pharmacological interventions e.g. behavioural changes.

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Applications are welcome from scientists based at established research institutions worldwide.
  • Previous experience in drug discovery is not required.
  • The lead applicant is expected to have a contract (fixed term or tenure) which covers the proposed duration of the grant. If the lead applicant does not hold a tenure appointment, the application must include a co-applicant that does.
  • Applicants are not required to have in-house capability for carrying out drug discovery or development; the Consortium is able to provide all the assay development, screening and medicinal/biopharmaceutical chemistry resources required to develop novel compounds or antibodies against the target.
  • Applicants and/or collaborators are expected to be able to demonstrate sufficient working knowledge of the target biology and access to assays, reagents and disease models.
  • Approaches can cover all aspects of disease treatment, from the underlying pathology to improving cognition and other mental symptoms.
  • Targets should be early stage but should have some supporting data to support their role in disease; for example, based on population disease association studies, siRNA and rescue studies, or transgenic animal studies. Applicants are expected to demonstrate either through their own preliminary data, or supporting literature, evidence linking a target to human disease and why the target should be prioritised e.g. target modulation has a potential therapeutic effect.
  • Studies concerning in vivo efficacy testing of repurposed drugs or commercially available molecules is not acceptable in isolation. However, studies using repurposed drugs or commercially available molecules for target validation studies are acceptable.