The Path Toward Effective Treatments Starts With An Early And Accurate Diagnosis

a hand in a blue glove holding a blood test tube

ADDF-Funded Screening Tool Facilitates Milestone Drug Approval

ADDF-supported diagnostics are already making a notable impact, improving clinical trial designs and serving as the driving force behind recent breakthroughs. The Amyvid PET scan—which received early seed funding from the ADDF—is being used to enroll patients and demonstrate target engagement in studies for amyloid-targeting drugs. These include Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi, which earlier this year became the first ever disease-modifying Alzheimer’s drug to receive full approval from the FDA, as well as Eli Lilly’s donanemab.

In addition, C2N’s PrecivityAD blood test, the development of which was also supported by the ADDF, is available to help physicians with early detection of Alzheimer’s in 49 of 50 U.S. states, requiring as little as a teaspoon of blood.

This progress is driving momentum in the field, paving the way for the next wave of trial design. Researchers will be able to use novel biomarkers to begin conducting combination therapy trials, which will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of how multiple drugs interact with one another as part of a broader treatment strategy for Alzheimer’s.

Doubling Down on Game-Changing Partnerships

The ADDF has recently redoubled our efforts to speed the development of diagnostic tools to detect early, subtle changes that signal Alzheimer’s with the launch of the next phase of our Diagnostics Accelerator.

This second phase brings the initiative’s total capital to $100 million, with new funders the NFL Players Association, Eli Lilly & Company, Biogen, and the Shanahan Family Foundation joining our initial funders, who include Leonard A. Lauder, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, and the Dolby family, among others.

The projects supported by the Diagnostics Accelerator; which include blood tests, eye scans, and digital technologies like apps; will lay the groundwork for improved trials and the development of the next class of Alzheimer’s drugs.

“If we want to stop Alzheimer’s, one of the biggest things we need to develop is a reliable, affordable, and accessible diagnostic… Many [Diagnostics Accelerator] award recipients are already making terrific progress.”Bill Gates, Inaugural Funder of the Diagnostics Accelerator

Progress in Groundbreaking Biomarkers

Using Artificial Intelligence to Detect Dementia

Headshot of Ioannis Tarnanas wearing a red tie and a gray suit
Ioannis Tarnanas, PhD

Using Artificial Intelligence to Detect Dementia

Altoida, led by Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Ioannis Tarnanas, PhD, is developing a digital system for early Alzheimer’s diagnosis called the Neuro Motor Index (NMI), which has been granted breakthrough device designation by the FDA. With the ADDF’s support, Altoida is adding artificial intelligence to the NMI’s existing set of smartphone and tablet activities with the goal of predicting which patients with mild cognitive impairment will develop mild dementia from Alzheimer’s.

Aging Eyes Offer “Window to the Brain”

Headshot of Jean-Philippe Sylvestre wearing glasses and a black shirt
Jean-Philippe Sylvestre, PhD

Aging Eyes Offer “Window to the Brain”

The team at Optina, led by Jean-Philippe Sylvestre, PhD, Chief of Research and Development, aims to detect amyloid in the brain by imaging the retina, which is a part of the eye directly connected to the central nervous system. Their platform holds the potential to be used in developing a retinal scan, which could offer a more accessible and easier-to-administer alternative to expensive amyloid PET scans.

A Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Occur

Headshot of Samuil Umansky wearing glasses and a striped shirt
Samuil Umansky, MD, PhD

A Blood Test to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms Occur

The team at DiamiR, led by Samuil Umansky, MD, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer, has identified specific microRNA molecules that are associated with two integral components of Alzheimer’s disease – neuron degeneration and inflammation – and is developing a blood test that will measure these microRNAs, which may signal Alzheimer’s disease prior to symptom onset. The ADDF is supporting further study of the microRNAs to determine their possible applications in screening and diagnostic settings.