Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) Launches Program to Harness Power of Big Data, Accelerating Pace of Alzheimer’s Research


Date Posted : February 25, 2015


Health care research and innovation collaborative Optum Labs selected as primary research partner

WASHINGTON  [Feb. 25, 2015] – The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi) has developed an innovative research initiative with the potential to bring new evidence and innovation to public and private research agendas aimed at redefining care delivery and changing the way future generations are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

In collaboration with Optum Labs, the open center for health care research and innovation in Cambridge, Mass., CEOi has launched the “Big Data Research Initiative to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease,” targeted at drawing stakeholders from industry, academia and government agencies to accelerate the pace of Alzheimer’s research for treatments and care.  The initiative will generate input from a broad set of collaborators and provide output and insight to other stakeholders and to the public in order to advance the field.  CEOi is raising funds to support the research from private sector organizations, foundations supporting Alzheimer’s research and other stakeholders focused on the care and cure of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The research agenda focuses on three of the biggest challenges in Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Disease prediction: understanding who and when a person without Alzheimer’s symptoms is likely to develop them will enable more precise research
  • Disease progression: gaining a better understanding of the different rates of progression will enable new approaches to trial engagement and therapy development
  • Care delivery: personalizing different care interventions to individual patients in order to maximize results for the patient and the health care system

“Billions of dollars are spent every year on Alzheimer’s research, yet progress has been slow and patients have not seen a new drug reach the market in over a decade,” said George Vradenburg, Convener of the CEOi and Chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s.  “We need to enlist big data to ensure new insights are coming to the field. We believe that Optum Labs’ robust dataset can drive significant improvements in our understanding of the disease and will address many unmet needs in Alzheimer’s research.”

The initiative is part of a three-pronged approach being led by CEOi, in conjunction with national and international leaders, to create a “Global Alzheimer’s Big Data Center of Excellence.” In addition to leading the application of big data through the planned collaboration with Optum Labs, focal points include supporting international rules and regulations to support big data efforts and improved interoperability to drive broader and deeper use of big data.

“Optum Labs looks forward to engaging our 20 collaborating partner organizations in this groundbreaking initiative, “said Paul Bleicher, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Optum Labs. “Our combined insights and data resources can uniquely support CEOi in redefining treatments and care for Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Every four seconds, another person somewhere in the world is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.  It is the only disease among the 10 most prevalent with no disease-modifying treatment, or cure. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s, which already costs the world $605 billion annually, is projected to triple from 44 million to 135 million people by 2050, leaving an unprecedented number of people reliant on the care of others. 

CEOi works with leading private-sector businesses and in partnership with leading non-governmental organizations and governments to identify and pursue research, therapy development, financing and care delivery projects that can transform the global fight to stop Alzheimer’s disease.  CEOi members include AC Immune, Bank of America, Banner Health, General Electric, Home Instead, Janssen, Lilly, Merck, Nestle Health Science, Pfizer, Sanofi and Takeda.

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. Learn more at: www.ceoalzheimersinitiative.org

USAgainstAlzheimer’s is an entrepreneurial organization demanding a solution to Alzheimer's by 2020. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, USAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments. Health care research and innovation collaborative Optum Labs selected as primary research partner.

Optum Labs was established through a partnership between Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business, and Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research, and education, as an open center for research and innovation. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership of more than 37 million individuals, joined the collaborative as Founding Consumer Advocate Organization in late 2013. Optum Labs brings together a community of partners dedicated to improving patient care by sharing information assets, technologies, knowledge tools, and scientific expertise. Research partners bring diverse perspectives to shared problems, and address questions that reflect patient care needs. Partners have access to in-depth and expansive de-identified clinical and claims data in an environment of innovative thinking and collaboration. Optum Labs is based in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit www.optum.com/optumlabs, and follow Optum Labs on Twitter, @OptumLabs.