March 5, during a joint conference of the Irish Council Presidency and the European Parliament, leading global corporations urged the development of a Global Alzheimer’s Action Plan to diagnose, prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi), a newly-formed private-sector initiative designed to collaborate with the public sector, non-profit community and academia, is a response to the call of political leaders for industry to help address this unprecedented global health, societal and fiscal threat. Today’s event is the first public event in a series of activities and actions across the globe for the CEOi.
The member companies of the CEOi from across health, medicine, technology and financial services sectors will help drive new solutions to address the needs of Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. These companies are already actively engaged in finding preventive interventions, treatments and care models for Alzheimer’s disease as well as solutions to the pending fiscal challenges wrought by the disease. The CEOi will build on the momentum of several national strategies in countries including countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, South Korea, India and the commitment of global institutions, including the European Union, the World Health Organization (WHO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to elevate Alzheimer’s disease as a global public health and economic priority.
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and symptomatic therapies offer only modest benefit. Even as governments are stepping up to address this global challenge, political leaders have recognized that collaboration with industry plays a critical role in bringing more time, attention, investment and commitment to stop the crippling consequences of this exploding health and economic burden,” said George Vradenburg, Convener of the CEOi. “European leadership in Alzheimer’s-related policy and in Alzheimer’s research have moved the field forward, but we all agree that there is more work to do. The CEOi shares in the goal of the conference to identify ‘global collaborations’ to address the ‘global challenges’ to society. As our society ages, there is no greater need than a comprehensive and collaborative response to Alzheimer’s disease.”
Europe, home to one of the world’s oldest populations –with 16 percent of its global population age 65 and older – must take a leading position on efforts to combat Alzheimer’s disease and aging. The joint conference today, titled “EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration,” aims to place EU research at the center of scientific advancement to meet today’s most pressing global challenges. The event brings together scientists and policymakers from 100 countries.
The founding members of the CEOi include biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies AC Immune, Eli Lilly and Company, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Merck (known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada), Pfizer, Inc. Sanofi and Nestlé Health Science; financial services provider Bank of America Merrill Lynch; healthcare solutions company GE Healthcare; and Banner Health, a large multi-state, not-for-profit, healthcare system.
In addition to Mr. Vradenburg, the CEOi was represented today by Dr. Andrea Pfeifer, Founder and CEO of AC Immune, a CEOi member company.
“Alzheimer’s is a scientific challenge of singular importance. Finding a means of diagnosis, prevention and treatment by 2025 is a goal worthy – and necessary - of a global commitment and a global collaboration,” Pfeifer said. “Today, a culture of collaboration among all stakeholders is emerging around Alzheimer’s. This is a very important step in creating much needed innovations in prevention, treatment, diagnostics and care.”
“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that slowly destroys a person’s memory, ability to learn, reason, communication. It progressively takes away an individual’s independence and is a huge emotional burden for families and caregivers” said Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Office, Sanofi, also a CEOi member company. “The human and economic burdens on society are immense both in terms of healthcare costs and loss to the economy as family members are forced to exit the labour market to care for loved ones. We have seen in the past that it is only through active political will and true scientific collaboration that we can overcome major diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”
“The CEOi creates a strong private-sector partnership that brings welcomed innovation and focus to the global efforts to eradicate Alzheimer’s,” said Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Disease International. “Alzheimer’s Disease International looks forward to partnering with the CEOi to create new momentum in this fight so that we can be the generation that stops Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias”
Along with global efforts to increase public and private investments in research and development through traditional and innovative financing mechanisms, the CEOi will apply outcomes-oriented and milestone-driven business practices to foster stronger public-private partnerships that spur medical, technological and systems innovations as well as nutrition for the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care of those affected by Alzheimer’s.
Through collaboration with governments, non-governmental organizations and academia, the CEOi will build proactive strategies to meet four goals aimed at improving the research, care, awareness and funding associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, including:
Development of a Global Alzheimer’s Action Plan to find a means of prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s by 2025, with specific, milestone-driven actions to achieve that goal through an increase in research resources and reductions in the time, cost and risk associated with developing therapies for Alzheimer’s;
Develop a comprehensive global Alzheimer’s basic and translational research agenda;
Articulate the fiscal and economic case for addressing Alzheimer’s, and define new global investment models and innovations in care and care delivery; and
Enhance public engagement to increase awareness of the economic, social and personal benefits of a public commitment to stopping Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the WHO and the Alzheimer’s Disease International 2012 Dementia Report, in 2010, there were approximately 35.6 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s and other dementias – most diagnosed over the age of 60. This number is expected to double every 20 years. Further, the total worldwide costs of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, were estimated to exceed $600 billion, which is equivalent to 1 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Combined with a lack of treatment options and the aging of the global population, both prevalence and cost will skyrocket without proper attention and investment.
The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) is an organization of private-sector leaders who have joined together to provide business leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The CEO Initiative seeks to partner with public leaders to transform the disease from a social, health, and economic crisis into an opportunity for healthy aging and innovation in research and care. The CEO Initiative believes that, during this era of aging populations, it will take visionary, coordinated, goal-oriented leadership of public and private leaders working together to solve our greatest challenges. www.ceoalzheimersinitiative.org