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MSD joins £4.5 million Dementia Consortium

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The Dementia Consortium has welcomed MSD (Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, USA) as a new partner in their global venture to accelerate drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease. MSD is the latest pharmaceutical company to join the Dementia Consortium – a £4.5 million charity-industry partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK, MRC Technology and pharmaceutical companies Abbvie, Astex, Eisai and Lilly.

The announcement comes as part of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference – the largest annual gathering of dementia researchers in the UK. Engaging academic researchers with drug discovery forms a central theme of this year’s Conference and the Dementia Consortium is one of a suite of initiatives launched by the charity in recent years.

Dr Darryle Schoepp, Head of Neuroscience Discovery at MSD said:

“MSD is very enthusiastic to join and contribute to the Dementia Consortium. At MSD, we are committed to discovering new therapeutics that benefit patients with dementia.  By contributing our neuroscience expertise and resources in this unique collaborative model, collectively we have the opportunity to advance new scientific approaches and fuel the future pipeline of promising new treatments for Alzheimer’s.”

Dr Simon Ridley, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We’re pleased to welcome MSD to the Dementia Consortium. The Consortium has had a hugely successful year, with four drug development programmes getting underway across the world. MSD bring financial investment and expertise to the Consortium, allowing us to build a diverse drug discovery pipeline and strengthening our ability to find treatments for dementia sooner.”

Dr Justin Bryans, Director of Drug Discovery at MRC Technology said:

“With five pharmaceutical partners on board and four projects already being funded, the Dementia Consortium has built up some real momentum in our ambition to find new dementia drugs to improve patients’ lives.”

To date, the Consortium has awarded over £1.5m so far to early stage drug discovery efforts for neurodegenerative diseases, including two projects that target the immune system in a bid to halt nerve cell damage in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and a project targeting TDP-43 aggregation in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

For further information about the consortium please visit http://www.dementiaconsortium.org/.

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