• A new UK-based research collaboration, NEURii, will provide a testbed for new approaches for detecting, monitoring and treating dementia.
  • The two-year pilot will look at how data and digital solutions can have real-world impact for the nearly one million people living with dementia in the UK, and 55 million people around the world.
  • The project is a collaboration that brings together the world-leading expertise of Health Data Research UK, University of Edinburgh, LifeArc, Eisai and Gates Ventures.
  • The NEURii collaboration builds on Eisai’s extensive experience in delivering innovative treatments in neurology and supports ongoing contributions to the global digital health ecosystem.

29 June, 2023Eisai, Gates Ventures, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), LifeArc and The University of Edinburgh announced today a new two-year collaborative research agreement that aims to transform care for people living with dementia. The collaboration, named NEURii, will explore the use of data and digital solutions that aim to complement approved treatment options for patients and solve issues related to the prediction, prevention, management, and treatment of dementia.

The innovative collaboration, established in the UK, aims to translate world-class data and digital sciences into projects that can enhance the quality of life of people living with dementia and contribute to national data infrastructure in the UK. NEURii will use high-quality data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) to deliver initial pilot projects that have the potential to make a meaningful difference to patients’ lives while maintaining data security and public trust.

By combining diverse digital biomarkers that can be acquired non-invasively in real world clinical and non-clinical settings (e.g. speech from conversation) with health data, and analysing them with tailored AI algorithms, NEURii aims to create innovative digital solutions.

 NEURii will use real-world data to measure the impact of these projects on the detection, monitoring and treatment of dementia and explore further opportunities to scale up digital health efforts across the UK and beyond.

Dr. Teiji Kimura, Ph.D., Academia and Industry Alliance Officer, Deep Human Biology Learning (DHBL) Office of Eisai, commented, “Dementia not only has a significant impact on the lives of those living with this disease and their caregivers, but also places a heavy burden on the medical and social security systems. We aim to create new digital solutions that will contribute to solving the challenges of dementia by combining the UK’s leadership in this field with our experience and track record of continuously creating innovative treatments in the field of dementia whilst staying true to our human health care concept of giving first thought to patients and the people in the daily living domain.”

It is estimated that more than 55 million people are currently living with dementia in the world and nearly one million in the UK, and this number is expected to grow rapidly.1,2 As well as having a significant impact on the lives of patients and those who care for them (52% of the UK public knows someone who has been diagnosed with a form of dementia),these conditions place significant pressure on health and social care systems. Providing data-driven solutions that complement existing treatments could help to improve earlier detection and diagnosis, evidence-based treatment decision-making, monitoring of disease progression and maintenance of quality of life.

Paul Wright, Neurodegeneration Translational Challenge Lead at LifeArc, said “Identifying ways to prevent dementia and neurodegenerative disease is a key part of our multi-million-pound neurodegeneration program. This collaboration is one of many new innovative projects we are involved in to improve the diagnosis of dementia and a positive step towards predicting those who may develop the disease.”

The UK is a leader in digital technology investment and research across areas such as genomics, health data science, AI and ML, with rich and diverse health-related data. NEURii’s model will enable the identification of pioneering data and digital science, the mentoring of talented scientists and the translation of health prototypes into practical and accessible products. By bringing together the expertise and capabilities of the NEURii collaborators, it is hoped that the novel approach will provide an exciting launch-pad for new transformational digital products that can contribute to solving the ongoing challenges of dementia and neurodegenerative conditions.

Dr. Niranjan Bose, Managing Director of Health & Life Sciences at Gates Ventures said, “AI and other advanced technologies are beginning to play a powerful role in medical research. I’m excited about how the NEURii collaboration will apply these tools to diagnostics research and drug discovery, and contribute to breakthroughs that can improve life for millions of people suffering with dementia and dementia-related illnesses.”

Neurii academic lead Professor Siddharthan Chandran, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “The University of Edinburgh is delighted to be part of this ambitious cross-sector digital partnership that has, as an explicit goal, the creation of low cost and globally scalable digital tools to predict and monitor dementia.”

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of HDR UK, said: “Almost one million people in the UK are living with dementia. This new public-private partnership aims to gain a deeper understanding of the disease through trustworthy use of large datasets of anonymised health data in secure environments. We will take forward a set of pilot projects and engage with the public. Our aim is to produce new data-driven products that will benefit patients and their families in detecting dementia, predicting its progress and better managing the disease.”

1  World Health Organization. Fact sheets, Dementia

2 Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia Statistics Hub. Number of people in the UK. 2022. Available at: https://dementiastatistics.org/about-dementia/prevalence-and-incidence/. Last Accessed: 27 June 2023.

Media contact

Megan Welford

Communications Manager
University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Innovations
00 44 7721 120217

Notes to editors

1. About NEURii

NEURii is a collaborative venture formed by Eisai, Gates Ventures, HDR UK, LifeArc and The University of Edinburgh. The partnership’s aim is to translate real-world data and digital science into solutions and products that predict, prevent and manage the treatment of dementia to help people live longer and better lives worldwide. NEURii will operate within a strict governance framework and FAIR data principles (data which meet principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability).

2. About Eisai

Eisai’s Corporate Concept is “to give first thought to patients and people in the daily living domain, and to increase the benefits that health care provides.” Under this Concept (also known as human health care (hhc) Concept), we aim to effectively achieve social good in the form of relieving anxiety over health and reducing health disparities. With a global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to create and deliver innovative products to target diseases with high unmet medical needs, with a particular focus in our strategic areas of Neurology and Oncology.

In addition, our continued commitment to the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which is a target (3.3) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is demonstrated by our work on various activities together with global partners.

For more information about Eisai, please visit www.eisai.com (for global headquarters: Eisai Co., Ltd.), and connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

For more information about Eisai in the EMEA region, please visit www.eisai.eu

3. About Gates Ventures

Gates Ventures is the private office of Bill Gates. Gates Ventures’ programmatic investments in the Alzheimer’s field include the AD Diagnostics Accelerator, Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), AD Data Initiative and the European Platform for Neurodegenerative Diseases (EPND).

4. About Health Data Research UK

Health Data Research UK is the national institute for health data with a mission to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives. It is a charity funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care in England and equivalents in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and leading medical research charities.

5. About LifeArc

LifeArc is a self-funded, non-profit medical research organisation. We take science ideas out of the lab and help turn them into medical breakthroughs that can be life-changing for patients. We have been doing this for more than 25 years and our work has resulted in five licensed medicines and a diagnostic for antibiotic resistance.

Our teams are experts in drug and diagnostics discovery, technology transfer, and intellectual property. Our work is in translational science – bridging the gap between academic research and clinical development, providing funding, research and expert knowledge, all with a clear and unwavering commitment to having a positive impact on patient lives.

LifeArc is committed to spending £1.3 billion by 2030 in areas of high unmet medical need.

6. About the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is a global university, rooted in Scotland. We are globally recognised for our research, development and innovation and we have provided world-class teaching to our students for more than 425 years. We are the largest university in Scotland, with more than 41,000 students and 15,000 staff.  We are a founding member of the UK’s Russell Group of leading research universities and a member of the League of European Research Universities. Edinburgh Innovations is the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. We bring University of Edinburgh research to industry, working to identify ideas with value, and facilitating the process of bringing them to life in real-world applications. We make ideas work for a better world.