Foundation for the NIH announces Alzheimer’s disease research initiative to accelerate progress on treatments

North Bethesda, MD, March 2, 2021 --- The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced a new, second Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) initiative in Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP AD). Since 2014, AMP, an innovative public-private initiative managed by the FNIH, has played a critical role in accelerating treatments for a range of diseases. The new effort announced today brings together some existing as well as new AMP partners to significantly expand the research program for Alzheimer’s disease with combined commitments totaling over $74.85 million over the next five years. 

Alzheimer's disease is projected to affect approximately 14 million people by the year 2060. Despite substantial investment in Alzheimer's disease research, the treatment options available today only temporarily improve symptoms without stopping the underlying decline and death of brain cells. Given the extremely high failure rate for investigative Alzheimer’s treatments – nearly 100 percent – the field needs the kind of innovative approach to developing new treatments represented by AMP AD.  

The new partnership involves government, industry and not-for-profit organizations in a collaboration that will advance Alzheimer’s disease research on a scale that would not otherwise be possible. A critical component is making data accessible to the broad research community, expediting the search for urgently needed treatment options. This open science approach has already yielded more than 500 new candidate targets for drug therapy.

AMP AD will considerably enhance and transform Alzheimer’s research by:  

  • Increasing multi-omics data generation efforts for racially and ethnically diverse populations. For a precision medicine approach to therapy development to be possible, research on Alzheimer’s must reflect the diversity of populations affected by the disease. In this new phase, AMP AD will analyze additional data and biosamples from populations most at risk for Alzheimer’s, including Black and Latinx populations.. 
  • Expanding and refining understanding of disease pathways. AMP AD will enhance efforts to map Alzheimer’s disease progression on a cellular and molecular level and will increase the availability of longitudinal data, giving researchers a more detailed and dynamic understanding of the disease and opening the door to new treatment approaches. 
  • Discovering new targets and biomarkers through multi-omic data. Discovering targets and biomarkers associated with different molecular subtypes of the disease will enable drug developers to select the right populations of patients for targeted treatments in clinical trials.
  • Sustaining and enhancing the capabilities of existing centralized data repository and knowledgebase. AMP AD will continue to make all the individual, de-identified subject-level data it generates available to researchers worldwide for use in  basic research and therapy development through the NIA’s access controlled AD Knowledge Portal as well as analytical outputs and target nominations through the open-source platform, Agora
“This partnership offers real hope to the tens of millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease,” said Maria C. Freire, Ph.D., President and Executive Director of the FNIH. “Collaboration through the first round of AMP AD has already enabled breakthrough advances in researchers’ understanding of how Alzheimer’s disease progresses, uncovering numerous potential targets for drug therapy in a field where treatment options are severely limited.”

The FNIH has brought together eight organizations in the partnership, including those from government (NIA, National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke , Food and Drug Administration), not-for-profit research, advocacy and care organizations (Alzheimer’s Association®), private offices (Gates Ventures), and the biopharmaceutical industry (Eisai Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited).

The NIA will contribute foundational research efforts at an estimated cost of $61.4 million over five years. In addition to contributing their scientific expertise, private partners have committed $13.45M over five years to the effort.

“AMP AD has helped transform the way we learn about the disease process and identify new targets for treatment,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “By expanding the molecular characterization of Alzheimer’s disease to be more inclusive of diverse populations and by renewing our commitment to open science practices for sharing data, methods and results, we will enable researchers across the globe to better understand the complex nature of the disease and take a precision medicine approach to the development of effective treatments.”

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About AMP: AMP AD is one of the inaugural programs managed by the FNIH as part of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, which launched in 2014, and also include initiatives in Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The AMP partnerships use cutting-edge scientific approaches to bring new medicines and support to patients by enhancing validation of novel, clinically relevant therapeutic targets and biomarkers. To learn more about AMP, visit https://fnih.org/AMP.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health: The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH. The FNIH works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit https://fnih.org.

About the National Institute on Aging (NIA): NIA leads the U.S. federal government effort to conduct and support research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. Visit the NIA website for information about a range of aging topics in English and Spanish. Learn more about age-related cognitive change and neurodegenerative diseases via its Alzheimer's and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center websiteStay connected with NIA!

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit https://nih.gov.