SV Life Sciences-managed Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), which develops disease modifying drugs for dementia, has announced a $5m investment in the initial financing round of start-up drug discovery company Cerevance.

Cerevance is using a proprietary technology platform developed in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute laboratory of Dr Nathaniel Heintz at Rockefeller University.

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This technology will allow the molecular analysis of specific cell types in human brain tissue to identify critical pathways and receptors present in vulnerable cell populations and molecular responses affected with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia Discovery Fund chief scientific officer Tetsuyuki Maruyama said: “We are eager to see Cerevance immediately apply its powerful approach to dementia.

“Our Scientific Advisory Board, which contains senior R&D leaders from seven global pharmaceutical and biotech companies, is confident that Cerevance will make breakthrough discoveries, enabling the company to advance new medicines that may prevent, slow or reverse the process of a broad range of devastating dementias.”

"We are eager to see Cerevance immediately apply its powerful approach to dementia."

Dementia Discovery Fund chief business officer Laurence Barker stated that globally there are more than 50 million dementia patients, with ten million being diagnosed every year.

Barker said: “With exceptional science, a strong sense of urgency, a leadership team that has previously succeeded together in drug discovery and solid investor support, Cerevance is well positioned to deliver life-changing therapeutics for dementia patients.”

Combining the $36m commitment of equity and non-dilutive capital from Lightstone Ventures and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company, Cerevance has now raised more than $41m.

The DDF is a venture capital fund that invests in projects and companies to develop effective disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia.

To date, seven leading pharmaceutical companies GSK, Biogen, Lilly, Takeda, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Otsuka subsidiary Astex, the UK’s Department of Health, and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK have invested in the DDF.