Taking a VC Approach to Charity, Greylock Veteran’s Alzheimer’s Research Foundation “Dares to Be Great”

8/25/10Follow @xconomy

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be sharing their thoughts and cooperating with each other.” He says the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund consortium scientists regularly get together to update each other on their findings, the way different engineers at a tech startup would discuss their progress on a challenge or project. The fund also updates donors on the research progress with webinars from Tanzi, he adds.

The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund raised about $15 million between 2005 and 2009, with about half of that total coming from the founders. The organization is aiming to raise about $4 million per year from now on, McCance says.

The next step for the fund’s consortium of researchers is to examine the more than 100 genes mapped in the Alzheimer’s Genome Project to identify those most likely to lead to future drug discoveries, McCance says. Ultimately, McCance hopes that more of these promising discoveries by the consortium will encourage others to make bets on the nonprofit model, much as the early returns from the first venture capital funds helped draw new institutional investors into the field. “By taking this different approach, I think we can move the needle,” he says.

In the meantime, some more encouraging news: McCance’s wife’s condition has remained very mild and progressed slowly. “She’s doing remarkably well,” he says.

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