The number of families affected by Alzheimer’s disease could triple by 2050

Alzheimer’s drug developer AC Immune expects the number of families affected by the degenerative disease could nearly triple by 2050 to 150 million, its CEO said in an interview with a German magazine.

The company recently secured a multi-million dollar investment from major sponsors of German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech by acquiring a potential Parkinson’s disease vaccine.

AC Immune CEO Andrea Pfeifer, in an interview with the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche published online Sunday, described Alzheimer’s, a non-curable disease whose origin is not known, as “a slow pandemic advancing toward the world”. It currently affects 55 million families, he said.

Athos, the holding company of Andreas and Thomas Struengmann, anchor investors in BioNTech, together with finance companies MIG and First Capital Partner jointly own 12% of AC Immune after a deal concluded a few weeks ago, Pfeifer said. The planned investment was announced in July.

Athos and MIG participated in the founding of BioNTech, which with its partner Pfizer developed the most widely used COVID-19 vaccine in the Western world, and they remain the main shareholders.

Positron emission tomography scans showing the differences between the brain of a healthy older adult and the brain of an older adult affected by Alzheimer’s disease (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Pfeifer said having the Struengmann twins on board was a “blessing” for AC Immune.

“If anyone knows how vaccines can be marketed, then they are the main investors in BioNTech,” he said.

AC Immune is working on various compounds for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, including vaccines.

The company has yet to launch a drug.

Other investors in AC Immune are Dietmar Hopp through his biotech control company Dievini with just over 20%, as well as institutional investors and other private investors, Pfeifer said.

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