Translational Research Centers to Speed, Diversify Alzheimer's Drug Discovery
To help meet the urgent need for therapies that will effectively treat or prevent Alzheimer's disease, the National Institute on Aging has launched two new research centers with funding expected to total more than $73 million over the next 5 years. The Alzheimer Centers for the Discovery of New Medicines are designed to diversify and reinvigorate the Alzheimer's disease drug development pipeline.
The centers will provide added infrastructure for developing high-quality research tools and technologies needed to validate and advance the next generation of drug targets for Alzheimer's disease.
Data, research methodologies, and computational and experimental tools will be disseminated openly and free-of-charge to the broader research community, including academia and industry, for use in drug discovery and in research to better understand the complex biology of the disease.
The Accelerating Medicines Partnership-Alzheimer's Disease (AMP-AD) program's open-science enterprise, which has provided more than 500 new candidate targets for Alzheimer's disease, served as the foundation for the new centers.
With the growing aging population, Alzheimer's disease is among the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. It affects an estimated 5.6 million people age 65 and older in the United States alone, a number that could rise as high as 14 million by 2050 without effective treatment and prevention. There are few current treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and several recent, late-stage clinical trials testing disease-modifying drug candidates have failed.
Two Centers, One Mission
The Alzheimer Centers for the Discovery of New Medicines grants were awarded to two multi-institutional research teams with extensive experience in developing and promoting open-access science practices. Each team brings together world-class expertise in data science, computational biology, disease biology, structural biology, assay development, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical science.
The Open Drug Discovery Center for Alzheimer's Disease (Open-AD) research team will leverage the data and results from the AMP-AD program and develop a series of new therapeutic hypotheses centered around a prioritized set of novel targets. Open-AD will develop a suite of target-enabling tools including high-quality antibodies and chemical probes, and openly disseminate all data, methods, and reagents to any interested academic and/or commercial investigator to accelerate validation of novel drug targets and to seed new drug discovery efforts.
The Indiana University School of Medicine Alzheimer's Disease Drug Discovery center will bridge target discovery work done by the AMP-AD program with newly discovered molecules that will be studied for disease-modifying potential in Alzheimer's disease animal models, specifically those based on human pathology, genetics, and translational biomarkers developed by the Model Organism Development & Evaluation for Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease Consortium.
The research team will create a diverse portfolio of Alzheimer's disease drug targets representing new therapeutic hypotheses with a particular focus on immune pathways. Consistent with the National Institutes of Health open science mission, the new center will make data and research tools available to the scientific community through an open access data sharing platform and target enablement packages.