Globally, there are currently a little over 40 million people living with dementia. This total could increase to some140 million by 2050 without better prevention and more effective treatments. It is this reality which led the G8 to make its recent pledge to foster the development of effective new therapies by 2025.

Given the inherent riskiness of medicines development, it is uncertain that this challenging political timetable will be met.   Any investment area characterised by a need for sustained long term research and uncertain returns is in truth unlikely to be judged attractive by either public or private institutional decision makers with serious money to spend. However, this is no reason to lose faith that the challenge of reducing the burdens imposed by dementia and allied disorders can and will ultimately be met.

David Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical and Public Health Policy, UCL

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