The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has launched 2 new research centers, the Alzheimer Centers for the Discovery of New Medicines, designed to diversify and strengthen the Alzheimer disease drug development pipeline.

Data, research methodologies, and experimental tools will be disseminated openly and free-of-charge to the broader research community. These centers will also provide added infrastructure for developing high-quality research tools and technologies to help advance the next generation of drug targets for Alzheimer disease.

Two multi-institutional research teams were awarded grants for their extensive experience in developing and promoting open-access science practices.

The Open Drug Discovery Center for Alzheimer’s Disease (Open-AD) will be led by Allan Levey, MD, PhD, Emory University, Atlanta; Lara Mangravite, PhD, Sage Bionetworks, Seattle; and Aled Edwards, PhD, Structural Genomics Consortium, which has research sites in North Carolina, Toronto and Oxford, UK. This team will develop a series of target-enabling tools, including high quality antibodies, and openly disseminate all data, methods, and reagents. The process will help accelerate validation of novel drug targets and seed new drug discovery efforts.

The Indiana University School of Medicine's Alzheimer disease drug discovery center will be led by Alan Palkowitz, PhD, and Bruce Lamb, PhD, at Indiana University, Indianapolis, with researchers from Purdue University, West Lafayette. This center focuses on creating a diverse portfolio of Alzheimer disease drug targets representing new therapeutic hypotheses with particular attention on immune pathways.

The new center will make data and research tools available to the scientific community through an open access data sharing platform and target enablement packages, consistent to the NIH open science mission.

“Through these centers, scientists will advance drug discovery for new targets to the point of attracting external partners who can take them into clinical development,” said Lorenzo Refolo, PhD, program director for the Alzheimer translational research program at NIA, in a prepared statement. “Ultimately, we need many candidate therapeutics that target multiple aspects of the disease in the drug development pipeline because there’s not likely to be a single cure for [Alzheimer].”


New NIH-funded translational research centers to speed, diversify Alzheimer’s drug discovery [news release]. Bethesda, MD: NIH Newsroom; October 1, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.