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About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)


The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is a non-for-profit organization that provides funding for drug discovery and development research programs in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), related dementias and cognitive aging.  The ADDF seeks to fill the critical translational funding gap between basic research and later stage drug development by funding promising drug discovery and development programs (Figure 1).  In addition to funding academic programs, the ADDF also invests in and creates early stage biotechnology companies for which funding is typically made as a program-related investment . The ADDF also co-sponsors conferences to stimulate new ideas and approaches in areas of interest to the Foundation.


The ADDF has granted $51 million to fund over 370 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs and clinical trials in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. Subsequent to the ADDF’s critical initial funding, our grantees have received commitments in excess of $2 billion in follow-on funding from government, pharmaceutical companies and venture capital firms to further advance their drug research.


The ADDF does not commit to any single scientific method, institution, approach, or solution.  Our strategy is to support the most promising, diverse, novel research projects  anywhere in the world and to develop a network of partnerships that will increase opportunities for developing effective, disease-modifying Alzheimer’s drugs. Our programs include:

  • Academic Drug Discovery and Development Program creates and supports innovative translational programs in academic medical centers and universities.
  • Biotechnology Development Program supports qualified scientific projects in existing, private and public, early-stage biotechnology companies. The ADDF will provide support for qualified projects in more advanced companies if a clear need for non-profit funding to support the project can be demonstrated and justified. Funding is typically made as a program-related investment.
  • Biotechnology Founders Technology Transfer Program supports the start-up of new biotechnology companies from both academic and other sources. Up to 35% of funds from these awards may be employed for expenses related to company formation, such as administrative, legal, patent and third-party vendor costs.
  • Conference Grants support innovative scientific conferences that stimulate discussion around novel targets.

The ADDF scientific staff, comprised of our Chief Scientific Officer and 3 PhD level neuroscientists, together with our expert Scientific Review Board and Business Advisory Board, carefully reviews each grant application and provides:

  • consultation for development of the proposed drug discovery research program, including access to services and resources
  • establishes milestones and monitors program progress on a semi-annual basis
  • strategic management assistance


The ADDF funds four different categories of research:  Drug Discovery (target validation; high throughput screening; medicinal chemistry, including  hit to lead development and lead optimization; in vitro and in vivo studies of efficacy, ADME, toxicology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; and in vivo proof-of-concept with lead compounds and biologics),Early Detection (development of biomarkers to accelerate drug development and early diagnosis), Clinical Trials (innovative pilot, primarily phase 2aclinical trials) andPrevention (targeted pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to prevention). We do not provide funding for basic science.


For a detailed description of our open RFPs, please visit:



  • The ADDF is interested in novel targets and therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and cognitive aging, These areas include, but are not limited to: Energy utilization/mitochondria function, insulin sensitivity, protein degradation/autophagy, ApoE function and cholesterol metabolism, vesicular trafficking, inflammatory pathways, synaptic function/morphology, calcium regulation, myelin changes, ischemia and oxidative stress, vascular injury, the blood-brain barrier interface, and translatable biomarkers.

Strategic areas of particular interest include:

  • Repurposing Testing drugs approved for other indications in Alzheimer’s disease preclinical models or in human clinical trials.
  • Developing new compounds and biologics for Alzheimer’s diseaseRequires BOTH a medicinal chemist and a biologist as co-PIs/collaborators.
  • Preclinical proof-of-conceptTesting of novel lead compounds in animal models.Whenever possible, studies should include pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) testing, an a priori hypothesis and primary and secondary outcomes measures, and a statistical design plan including power analysis.


  • PACT provides funding for early stage proof of concept, primarily phase 1 and phase 2a clinical studies, testing novel therapies in human patients. The program must include biomarkers in the study design that are related to the mechanism of the drug being tested.

2012 ADDF/CHARLES RIVER/CEREBRICON JOINT RFP: Use of aged rats as a relevant preclinical model for the development of therapeutics for cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease

Aging is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The ADDF seeks to capitalize on new knowledge regarding the biology of aging for translation research to develop new drugs. To accelerate the discovery of new drugs for cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has partnered with Charles River Discovery and Imaging Services/Cerebricon to co-develop and implement a grant program to fund pre-clinical studies focused on proof-of-concept testing of novel compounds in aged rats that employ novel outcome measures.

  • Charles River/Cerebricon. has made available and will cover the cost for aged rats (up to 22 months old) if the applicant chooses to contract services for the purposes of this RFP. Alternatively, investigators can purchase aged rats from Charles River/Cerebricon and/or utilize animals and services from their own institutions or from other providers.


Research investigating the pathologic mechanisms of neurodegeneration in frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) and related disorders is advancing, creating new potential targets for drug discovery, with implications for Alzheimer’s disease as well. The ADDF and the AFTD seek to accelerate and support drug discovery for FTD and related dementias through this targeted RFP for development of new compounds, biologics, and biomarkers for FTD.


All applications must be submitted electronically at ( Full information on the application process and RFP details can be found at the above address. Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) is required at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline. Deadlines for 2012 are as follows:


  • General RFP/PACT: Jan 18th, April 10th, July 10th and Oct 10th
  • ADDF/Charles River/Cerebricon Ltd. RFP: July 10th
  • ADDF/AFTD RFP: Sept 20th

The ADDF typically supports one year of research at a time, with potential for future follow-on funding. Funding averages $150,000 per year and must be justified based on the scientific work plan. The PACT program is an exception where applications up to $1,000,000 per program will be accepted. The ADDF will attempt to make a determination of interest within 90 days of receipt of the application.



In addition to providing programmatic and scientific support to funded investigators the in house scientific staff are continuously generating resources to address critical unmet needs in the field that include:

  • Public-Private partnerships: Development of strategic industry relationships and public-private partnerships to leverage resources and secure follow on funding (pharma and VCs) for ADDF investigators.
  • Resource database: The ADDF staff are continuously developing relationships with industry partners to better connect investigators with contract research organizations (CROs) and negotiate discounted services.
  • Annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration Conference: An intensive course on translating drugs into research. The course sees participants from both an academic and industry backgrounds and covers topics ranging from medicinal chemistry, hit to lead optimization, ADMET and preclinical animal model studies to financing models (
  • Annual International Conference on Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery: Annual investigators meeting open to academics, industry and investment groups (  
  • Online drug discovery tutorial: A web-based tutorial has been developed in conjunction with the annual Drug Discovery for Neurodegeneration conference. The site will go live in 2012 providing comprehensive reference material on the drug development lifecycle. The link can be found (
  • Catalyst conferences: the ADDF helps to develop and co-sponsor catalyst conferences in specific therapeutic areas in development.. Through a partnership with the NY Academy of Sciences the ADDF holds conferences throughout the year on target themes of interest (
  • Scientific publications:
    • Review articles: The ADDF scientific staff regularly publishes meeting reports and scientific reviews on the Alzheimer’s disease therapeutic landscape.
    • Best Practices for Preclinical Animal Studies: The ADDF scientific staff developed guidelines for design of preclinical animal model efficacy studies (Shineman et al (2011). Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy 28;3(5):28)


For application submission inquiries:

Niyati Thakker
Grants Associate
Phone: +1 212-901-8019
[email protected]

[email protected]                             

For program related inquiries:

Diana Shineman, PhD
Assistant Director for Scientific Affairs
Phone: +1 212-901-8007
[email protected]
Rachel Lane, PhD
Scientific Program Manager

Phone:+1 212-901-8017
[email protected]

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