South San Francisco (January 26, 2012) – Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, together with its collaborator on the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program (AIP), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), and the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative today introduced the Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 at the Care Innovations Summit in Washington, D.C. The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 calls for inventive concepts to help improve the diagnostic identification and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease.
Specifically, the Challenge seeks the development of simple, cost-effective, consistent tools that could be easily used to assess memory, mood, thinking and activity level over time to help improve diagnosis and monitoring of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, easy to use, reliable, objective and cost-efficient methods to track and monitor Alzheimer’s disease -- which is not a normal part of aging -- remain an unmet need. The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) call to harness new thinking to deliver better care and better health at lower cost and provides an entrepreneurial springboard to harness new thinking and approaches to improve Alzheimer’s care.
“In the United States, more than 5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease -- that’s one-in-every-eight people aged 65 and over. The odds increase to nearly one-in-two for people who are 85 years old,” said Suzanne Blaug, head of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program. “As we look toward the implementation of the first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, the United States is taking critical steps to address the enormous toll that Alzheimer’s is placing on families, their caregivers and the healthcare system. We’re eager to collaborate with others, as it will take many of us working together to address one of the largest healthcare challenges of our time.”
The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 includes awards totaling $300,000. This incorporates $25,000 to five finalists and $175,000 to one winner of the Challenge. The deadline for submission of concepts is March 16, 2012 and a complete Challenge description, official rules, including prizes, judging criteria and timelines are available on the Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 website www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com.
“The organizations presenting challenges here today are pushing the best minds in the country to create a better health care system. They represent exciting solutions to help address some of the Nation’s most urgent health needs,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
“We believe someone out there has the answer and shares our sense of urgency. The Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 is open to problem-solvers and we encourage anyone and everyone who thinks they have a creative solution to step up, submit an entry, and be recognized,” said Meryl Comer, President of The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative. Chairman of the Initiative, George Vradenburg, also representing USAgainstAlzheimers on the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), adds, “We are pleased to partner with the AIP in making this Challenge and are grateful for the continuing leadership of HHS Secretary Sebelius in focusing a broad-based national effort to address Alzheimer’s.”
Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012 Overview
Following the March 16, 2012 submission deadline, five finalists will be selected and announced by April 16, 2012. Each finalist will be awarded $25,000. Concept refinement will be completed by mid June 2012 with finalist presentations to follow. The winner of the Challenge will be announced at the end of June 2012 and awarded a $175,000 prize. Judges will be drawn from experts in the Alzheimer’s community and other related fields. More information available at www.alzheimerschallenge2012.com.
The Need for Better Tools to Track Alzheimer’s Disease
For many chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, there are simple, reliable, objective methods for tracking progression. Similar tools are generally not available for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are accurate and reliable cognitive tests to help diagnose the disease. Other challenges still remain in the diagnosis of and ongoing care for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
It is believed that as many as 50 percent of people living with dementia in high income countries such as the United States have not received a formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, patients, their caregivers and health care providers need a better way to track and monitor the patient’s condition over time.
Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer's Immunotherapy Program believes that it is possible to reduce the burden of disease through early intervention in the illness. It is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions that help address the needs of people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.
Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy
At Janssen, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in neuroscience. Driven by our commitment to patients, we bring innovative products, services and solutions to people throughout the world. Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and is researching, developing and commercializing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is based in Dublin and has R&D facilities in South San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.janimm.com.
The Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative
The Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBGBAI) is a major charitable beneficiary of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation. Its mission is "getting ahead of the future" with early diagnostics, genetics, biomarker research and spirited public awareness campaigns. The 2012 Alzheimer’s Challenge is the first in a series of GBGBAI-supported, award based competitions for innovative solutions to challenges to Alzheimer's prevention research. A marquee sponsor of the 2010 award-winning HBO series, "The Alzheimer's Project," GBGBAI also launched a national “Rock Stars of Science”® (Rock S.O.S.) campaign to salute researchers and excite the next generation to careers in science. One hundred percent of net profits from Geoffrey Beene, LLC are donated to philanthropic causes that support innovative research on a host of medical, educational and societal issues. Through 2011, Geoffrey Beene, LLC has provided $150 million in value funding. For more information, visit www.geoffreybeene.com or www.rockstarofscience.org.