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Charity industry partnership Dementia Consortium has announced that pharmaceutical companies, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Takeda and research organisation Evotec have joined its drug discovery collaboration for neurodegenerative diseases.

The consortium provides a cost and risk sharing solution for target validation and encourages international collaborations between academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies to translate novel drug targets for dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease towards the clinic.

The Dementia Consortium currently connects Alzheimer’s Research UK with AbbVie, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Eisai, Eli Lilly and Merck. There are seven projects being supported by the partnership – for example, two target the immune system to halt nerve damage and another investigating the role of TDP-43 build-up in brains of patients with frontotemporal dementia and motor neurone disease.

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Research and Development neurodeneration disease area stronghold area leader Sir Simon Lovestone said: “We are delighted to collaborate as part of the Dementia Consortium, and we believe this is an exciting approach to identify novel targets for drug discovery in neurodegeneration, with the ultimate goal of helping patients all over the world who suffer from debilitating central nervous system disorders.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK director of research Dr Carol Routledge said: “We’re excited to welcome Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Evotec to the Dementia Consortium as we look to build on the excellent work it has achieved so far.

“The Dementia Consortium will give new opportunities for world-leading academic researchers to develop their novel and promising findings into treatments. Supporting these projects is vital in helping make scientific breakthroughs possible and bringing about a new life-changing dementia treatment.”

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The consortium is looking to support further drug discovery projects that focus on new molecular targets with evidence of a potential therapeutic effect for neurodegenerative diseases.

Projects are usually awarded between £100,000 and £250,000, with £500,000 being the limit for particularly novel cases.