The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and its AETIONOMY, EMIF and EPAD projects are proud to announce the creation of the IMI Alzheimer's Disease Research Platform. The platform will facilitate collaboration between the three projects, helping them to deliver results faster. At the same time, IMI and the Global Alzheimer's Platform (GAP) are announcing their plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate Alzheimer's drug development by building a global, standing, trial-ready platform for Alzheimer's drug development.

The announcements come during a symposium held at the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders (AD/PD 2015), and in the wake of a major World Health Organization (WHO) conference on dementia.

Dementia already affects over 35 million people globally, and as populations age, this figure is set to rise to over 115 million by 2050. The disease places a huge and growing burden on health and social care systems and on the families and carers of those affected. Yet despite decades of research, there is still neither treatment nor cure for the disease.

The challenge of developing new, effective treatments for dementia is simply too great for any organisation to tackle alone, and so IMI has launched a number of projects that bring together leading experts from the pharmaceutical industry, universities, small biotechs, and patient organisations from across Europe and beyond. The three projects in the new IMI Alzheimer's Disease Research Platform have a combined budget of €138 million and address complementary areas of Alzheimer's disease research.

AETIONOMY is paving the way towards a new approach to the classification of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, thereby improving drug development and increasing patients' chances of receiving a treatment that works for them.

EMIF is developing a common information framework of patient-level data that will link up and facilitate access to diverse medical and research data sources, opening up new avenues of research, particularly in the fields of Alzheimer's disease and obesity.

EPAD is pioneering a new, more flexible approach to clinical trials of innovative Alzheimer's disease treatments designed for people who have the disease but have not yet developed dementia.

'The European Union has a long tradition of fostering research collaboration,' said Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, which is a partner in all three projects. 'The creation of the IMI Alzheimer's Disease Research Platform is another great example of European research projects working together to improve our understanding of dementia and to give hope to the 8.4 million Europeans affected by dementia of a cure of the condition in the future. Alzheimer Europe is delighted to support all three projects by representing the views of people with dementia and their carers in the research consortia and by making the research results available to the wider general public.'

The projects are keen to collaborate more closely with other Alzheimer's research projects around the world. The global reach of the platform will be aided by the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between IMI and the Global Alzheimer's Platform (GAP). In addition, international collaboration is already built into the IMI projects. For example, EPAD, EMIF and the Medical Research Council's Dementias Platform UK are already linked and a number of EPAD partners are directly involved in other initiatives such as GAP.

Irene Norstedt, IMI Acting Executive Director commented: 'Alzheimer's disease is a global challenge that requires a global solution, and it is in this spirit that the IMI Alzheimer's Disease Research Platform is reaching out to other initiatives on Alzheimer's disease around the world. Everyone working on Alzheimer's disease needs to pull together if we want to deliver results that will help us to end the suffering caused by this terrible disease.'