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AARP invests $60M in Dementia Discovery Fund

The $350 million fund is backing early-stage development of therapeutics to treat dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

AARP HQ. (Photo by Flickr user Forsaken Fotos, used under a Creative Commons license)

AARP has shown it’s interested in tech, bringing startups to its D.C. incubator and virtual reality to local events. Now the D.C.–based org is getting involved in venture.

On Monday, AARP announced a $60 million investment in a fund which is focused on developing new drugs to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The investment completed a $350 million raise for the Dementia Discovery Fund, which is being touted as the largest fund to focus on a single disease area. The fund backs early-stage companies developing therapeutics. AARP said it also had a hand in getting UnitedHealth Group and Quest Diagnostics involved in the fund, who invested a combined total of $15 million.

“Dementia doesn’t just affect those with the disease,” Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, said in a statement. “It takes a devastating emotional, physical and financial toll on families and caregivers. The projected doubling of the size of the 65+ population over the next generation makes finding new ways to treat dementia, including Alzheimer’s, even more critical.”

AARP also released survey data of physicians showing a need for new treatment. The results indicated one in three doctors think current treatments are poor, and 62 percent say a lack of diagnostic tools is preventing treatment.

The fund launched in 2015, and has invested in 15 projects.

The investment from the AARP is further recognition of the potential of our unique approach to finding important treatments for dementia that alter the course of disease and, potentially, a broad range of associated neurodegenerative disorders,” said DDF’s Kate Bingham.

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