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Bill Gates commits $30m towards Alzheimer's diagnostic test

Published on 19/07/18 at 08:49am

Microsoft business magnate Bill Gates has joined a coalition of philanthropists in committing more than $30 million towards the development of an Alzheimer’s diagnostic test.

Gates joins former Estée Lauder chief Leonard Lauder, the Dolby Family and the Charles and Helen Schwab foundation, among others, in donating towards the launch of the Diagnostic Accelerator which aims to develop a “reliable, affordable, and accessible” diagnostic test for the neurodegenerative disease.

Gates noted in a statement that current diagnostic tests “can be expensive and invasive.”  He added that: “most insurance plans in the United States won’t reimburse tests for Alzheimer’s. Patients often pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets.”

Furthermore, the philanthropist suggests that the drawn out diagnostic process has stalled “the quest for a scientific breakthrough,” noting that “It’s currently so difficult to find enough eligible patients for a clinical trial that it can take longer to enrol participants than to conduct the study.”

The billionaire, who donated $100 million towards Alzheimer’s disease research in 2017, noted that the Diagnostics Accelerator takes a new approach to philanthropy by incentivising a “bold, risk-taking approach to research with an end goal of a real product for real patients.”

The approach, which has been labelled Venture Philanthropy, claims to ‘split the difference’ between traditional philanthropy and venture capital.

Gates concluded his statement by launching an appeal to those with innovative ideas and solutions: “My hope is that this investment builds a bridge from academic research to a reliable, affordable, and accessible diagnostic. I expect to see lots of new players come to the table, who have innovative new ideas but might not have previously had the resources to explore them. If you think you’re one of these bold thinkers, we want to hear your great ideas. I encourage you to apply for funding on the new Diagnostics Accelerator website here.”

Louis Goss

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