UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL awarded £10m to develop new dementia treatments

16 February 2015


Alzheimer’s Research UK today announced a £30m Drug Discovery Alliance, launching three flagship Drug Discovery Institutes at UCL, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The Drug Discovery Institutes will see 90 new research scientists employed in state-of-the-art facilities to fast-track the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Each Institute will be led by a Chief Scientific Officer working in tandem with some of the UK’s leading academic researchers based at each of the three universities and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s own in-house research leaders. New ideas and breakthroughs from academic research teams in each university, and beyond, will be driven straight into the hands of dedicated biology and chemistry teams in each Institute, expert in designing and developing potential new medicines.The UCL Drug Discovery Institute, embedded within UCL’s multi-Faculty campus in the heart of London, will unite world-class dementia researchers with drug discovery experts. The University has strong clinical partnerships with the NHS and state-of-the-art infrastructure to support this pioneering initiative.

Although our understanding of dementia has increased considerably in the past decade, this has yet to yield commensurate benefits for patients. By bridging the vital gap between basic research and treatments for patients, the Drug Discovery Institutes should help us to change this. Harnessing the considerable expertise in dementia and drug discovery across UCL and throughout the partnership, we hope to identify promising drugs that could make a real difference to patients’ lives. Professor Giampietro Schiavo, UCL Institute of Neurology, co-lead academic scientist at UCL Drug Discovery Institute
The Drug Discovery Institute will complement other key initiatives at UCL that are essential to the delivery of new treatments for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, including the recently opened Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre. It will form part of a wider commitment by UCL and NHS partners to bring together multi-disciplinary expertise in dementia research, care and education to rise to the Dementia Challenge. Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences

Over the next five years, the Drug Discovery Institutes aim to attract around 90 world-class researchers into dementia drug discovery, who will be equipped with the latest technology and infrastructure through the hosting universities.

The Drug Discovery Alliance is one of the first of its kind for dementia research in the world. We’re providing the investment and infrastructure that is needed to maintain and grow a healthy pipeline of potential new treatments to take forward into clinical testing. It’s only by boosting the number of promising leads to follow-up, that we’ll have the best chance of developing pioneering medicines that can change the outlook of this devastating condition. Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research, Alzheimer's Research UK

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