New Capital, Scientific

Jeff Bezos teams with Bill Gates to fund new and better ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s

The world’s wealthiest man is chipping into a new fund from one of the other richest men on the planet to finance a hunt for new, better and cheaper ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

E-tail mogul Jeff Bezos — alongside his estranged wife MacKenzie — added $15 million to the $35 million Bill Gates helped put together for the diagnostics work being done by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Gates dove into the field back in the fall of 2017, committing $50 million of his nonprofit foundation’s cash and $50 million from his personal fortune to invest in a new approach to the disease, urging a return to basic research in the hunt for new ideas about what causes Alzheimer’s, pushing past amyloid beta — which has been a nonstarter to date — and tau, the other popular target.

As Gates noted in a blog about the new work, diagnosing Alzheimer’s has been expensive and difficult, often relying on spinal taps. But he spotlighted several new programs underway to develop cheap and simple new diagnostics, which would make it faster and far more efficient to recruit patients and test new drugs — a field littered with one trial disaster after the next.

Gates highlighted the work Washington University researcher Randy Bateman has been doing to create a simple blood test for the memory-wasting disease, while Rhoda Au is working on a test that would use a person’s voice to determine whether they suffered from the disease, and what stage they were at.

They now have the backing of some deep, deep pockets looking to fund the exploration of fresh ideas.

Image: Jeff Bezos in 2018. AP IMAGES

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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