Bill Gates pledges $50m to London-based fund searching for dementia cure

The world's richest man, Bill Gates, has promised $50m (£38.2m) to a London-based fund that's exploring new ways to tackle dementia.

The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), first launched in 2015 and run by venture capital firm SV Health, is focused on discovering and developing new therapies that are not in the mainstream for fighting the disease which is expected to affect 1m people in the UK alone by 2025.

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“I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s research and development, which the Dementia Discovery Fund is playing an important role in by exploring new approaches to treat the disease," said Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft who has promised to give away more than half of his wealth to charity.

"Most of the major pharmaceutical companies continue to pursue the amyloid and tau pathways. DDF complements their work by supporting startups as they explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia," he added in a blog post about the investment.

The investment is a private one and not through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organisation through which several health investments have previously been made.

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It was welcomed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt who said the "substantial investment could help us to change the lives of millions of people".

DDF is backed by the government, charity Alzheimer’s Research UK and several of the big pharmaceutical firms, including GSK, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, with the goal of finding an ambitious cure for dementia by 2025.

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