Bill Gates says he’s giving $50 million to help fight Alzheimer’s disease and is investing in an $80 million plan to build a high-tech community near Phoenix.
- The Alzheimer’s fight
“I believe there is a solution,” Gates told CNN about his decision to fund Alzheimer’s research.
“Any type of treatment would be a huge advance from where we are today,” he said, but “the long-term goal has got to be cure.”
The Microsoft co-founder said Monday that the donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund is personal and not through his charitable foundation.
The London-based private fund is backed by government, charities and pharmaceutical firms and seeks new treatments for the progressive, irreversible neurological disease.
In a statement , Gates says men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. He says he’s hopeful that in time Alzheimer’s could be a chronic condition treatable with medication.
Gates says the first treatments for the disease might not be feasible for a decade or more and would initially be expensive. He says the Gates Foundation might consider how to expand access in poorer countries when treatments are developed.
- Building a futuristic community
Gates wants to build a futuristic community in Arizona.
A group associated with a Gates investment company has invested $80 million in a high-tech planned development outside Phoenix.
The community in Belmont will be designed around high-speed networks, autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and autonomous logistics hubs.
It’s unclear how much former Microsoft CEO Gates, who owns Belmont’s parent company Cascade Investment, will be involved in the effort.
Belmont Partners, the Arizona-based real investment group that’s leading the project, said it will be similar in size to nearby Temple, Arizona, which has a population of 182,000.
“Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric,” Grady Gammage, a spokesman for the venture said in the statement.
Arizona has a reputation as being a technology-friendly state. Several major players in the autonomous vehicle industry — Waymo, Uber and Intel — are testing their innovations in the state.
The $80 investment is the latest example of excitement surrounding rebuilding cities from the ground up with a digital mind-set.
But developing a new city or even a neighborhood isn’t cheap. This October Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, committed $50 million for the initial phase of planning and pilot testing a Toronto neighborhood development.