stée Lauder’s four grandchildren and sons, who formed the Alzheimer’s Drug Development Foundation to promote the family’s mission of finding a cure for the disease, contributed $200 million to the organization on Tuesday.
According to Mark Roithmayr, the CEO of ADDF, Leonard and Ronald Lauder formed the charity in 1998 in memory of their mother, who also had Alzheimer’s disease and other family members.
According to Roithmayr, “They have made this family present together to see through the task of the next 10 to 15 years to finish what Estée started.”
The Lauder sons decided to engage in an early study of potential therapies using what they dubbed “venture philanthropy,” meaning any profits from their investments were used to fund future research, starting with a $100 million bequest from their mother. In addition, according to Roithmayr, the family promises to pay all organization overhead costs, ensuring that all outside donations be used only to support research.
The $200 million committed will be transferred to the ADDF over the following ten years, while grants are anticipated to be given out over the next fifteen years.
According to Roithmayr, the committee will enable the Lauders to continue paying for ADDF’s expenses.
Alzheimer’s disease, which gradually damages brain regions required for memory, reasoning, communication, and daily functions, affects more than 50 million people worldwide.
But they still don’t fully understand how Alzheimer’s develops; one theory holds that accumulating a protein called amyloid is crucial.
The FDA has approved two medications that work to prevent amyloid buildup, but the approval of Biogen’s Aduhelm in 2021 sparked debate since the agency disregarded its independent scientific advisers.
Legembi, a second medication approved in January, is the first to have conclusively demonstrated to delay the decrease in memory and thinking that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease by focusing on the biology of the illness.
The Alzheimer’s Association vice president Heather Snyder emphasized the need for funding research.
We can comprehend the underlying biology and apply that knowledge to treatments and interventions that will benefit everyone if we invest in research.
Even though many people won’t have access to them because they are now not covered by Medicaid and Medicare, she claimed there is a sense of momentum in Alzheimer’s research, partly due to the approval of the new medications.
Her group presently invests $320 million in research programs that range from exploring the biology of aging to developing diagnostic tools, conducting clinical trials, and providing care for dementia patients.
They also support advocacy efforts to increase federal funding for Alzheimer’s research.
Roithmayr claimed that by investing where drug corporations and the government do not, the Lauder family hopes to shorten the time it takes for research to provide medicines.
The man explained, “Our objective is to put our funding into this translational science, kind of in this valley of death where you have fantastic ideas, but they’re hazardous.”