We all know a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease: a grandparent or friend, or we may have heard about someone famous who has been diagnosed. We have all heard stories from colleagues, or have our own experiences, with a family member who can no longer remember his children’s names, can no longer drive, and has trouble getting words out, and later on, needs help dressing. The gradual loss of cognition and ability to function slowly steals the person away and causes considerable suffering and hardship.
Approximately 44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, and as the population ages, this number is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. These are truly staggering projections, and the human aspects are heart-wrenching.
Johnson & Johnson and our Janssen pharmaceutical companies have never been more committed to helping people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We recently announced an investment of $10 million through Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. in a new UK government-led dementia discovery fund that will support innovative research to prevent and treat these devastating conditions. We helped to create the fund as a new type of model to finance early, promising research, based on the reality that one company, one country, or one university cannot do it alone. The UK Department of Health launched the fund as part of the First World Health Organization Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia, held in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16-17.
The fund brings together industry, governments and nonprofit organizations to create new sources of investment to support innovative science that will lead to new dementia treatments. Our support of the fund speaks to our strong belief in the power of scientific collaboration and our deep commitment to foster innovative science.
Janssen has a strong and growing Alzheimer’s disease research and development program. Our scientists are focused on slowing or preventing disease progression. Janssen also has many current scientific and advocacy collaborations in this area.
I am confident that our investment in the new fund and all of Janssen’s work in Alzheimer’s disease will yield breakthrough scientific advances to bring new treatments and help people all over the world, so that in the future no one will have to witness a loved one become diminished from the ravages of dementia.