First-of-its-Kind Bio-Hermes Challenge Sparks Global Interest for Novel Research

Support from Scottish Parliament Underscores Its Significance

Washington D.C., May 30, 2024-  The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP)  and the Scottish Funding Council’s Brain Health ARC have announced swift progress in the next steps of the Bio-Hermes Biomarker Data Challenge 2024, the research competition using the most comprehensive set of dementia biomarker data from ground-breaking early blood testing studies for Alzheimer’s disease.  

With this, GAP and the Brain Health Arc are also pleased that more than 20 members from the Scottish Parliament publicly supported the decision for Scotland to host the Bio-Hermes Biomarker Data Challenge, underscoring the significance of this research competition. Such support acknowledges the promise in what is seen as ground-breaking early blood testing studies for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and St. Andrews, who make up the Scottish Funding Council’s Brain Health ARC, have processed 25 complete applications from teams around the globe in response to the first-of-its-kind open access data competition.

The first round of applicants for the Bio-Hermes Biomarker Data Challenge have been notified with many starting their projects, working to finalize them in time for a showcase event in 2025. The projects from these applicants are already reflecting the ambition of the Challenge to spark novel research and generate high-impact output, utilizing the unique data from the Bio-Hermes study.

The 25 applications are comprised of teams at various career stages, with many teams reflecting a multidisciplinary approach. These teams include 121 individual researchers across 28 institutions and 18 locations. The institutions from Scotland include Glasgow, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, University of West of Scotland, Dundee, Aberdeen, from the United Kingdom: Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, University College London, Imperial College London, St George’s London, Manchester. There are also researchers from Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Romania, and India, making this a true international endeavor.

Some examples of approved projects include:

A diverse team of researchers spanning Scotland, the UK, and Europe aims to assess how socioeconomic factors, such as education, contribute to shielding certain individuals from Alzheimer’s dementia and mild cognitive impairment, even when they possess a biological predisposition. This investigation, conducted within the Bio-Hermes cohort, which represents a broad demographic spectrum, seeks to understand the concept of resilience recently identified in this population. The insights gained will be instrumental in shaping policies aimed at preventing dementia.

A second team of researchers, equally varied in expertise, will delve into the potential moderating role of cardiovascular risk in the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. By leveraging the extensive array of blood biomarkers available in the Bio-Hermes cohort, this comprehensive study aims to elucidate whether cardiovascular risk influences the likelihood or specific type of dementia that emerges (e.g., vascular dementia). This innovative research holds significant promise for shaping policies related to dementia screening and prevention.

Reflecting on the Bio-Hermes Data Challenge journey so far, Professor Terry Quinn, David Cargill Chair in Geriatric Medicine, University of Glasgow, commented: “When we launched the Data Challenge at the beginning of the year, I knew we would receive innovative and high-quality submissions. However, I did not anticipate just how enthusiastically teams would embrace the Challenge. I have been honoured, and humbled, to be part of a project that is bringing together some of the brightest minds in the Scottish, UK and International dementia research communities. We have demonstrated what can be achieved when cutting edge data and enthusiastic researchers are brought together. I am excited to see what the teams will produce and look forward to seeing the outputs from the Challenge shared in the major dementia conferences and journals.”

John Dwyer, the President of GAP, said “It is inspiring to see the impressive number of rich applications that were evaluated and awarded participation in the Bio-Hermes Biomarker Challenge. We welcome the brilliant researchers from several disciplines who want to “dig in” and use the Bio-Hermes data to explore the pressing questions confronting research into biomarkers and therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We encourage them to ask and answer questions that have yet to be posed with unencumbered creativity–this is why we devised the Challenge. I look forward to seeing what is next, and again appreciate the hard work and leadership of the Scottish research community in making the Challenge a reality.”

Data from the more than 80,000 test results from the Bio-Hermes study are available to researchers in Scotland via the AD Workbench from the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative.

Niranjan Bose, Interim Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative said: “We are excited to see this progress and look forward to the outputs and insights produced by the Bio-Hermes Biomarker Data Challenge. We thank our partners at GAP for their commitment to groundbreaking collaborative research and making this important set of biomarker data available to researchers to accelerate progress in disease prediction and diagnosis.”

With the enthusiasm surrounding the Challenge, a second round of applicants are being considered, and applications will be reviewed later this Spring.

For more information about the other organizations in collaboration, visit GAP, AD Data Initiative,


About the Bio-Hermes study:

In 18 months, GAP and its network of clinical research sites throughout the U.S. (GAP-Net) enrolled more than 1,000 volunteers in Bio-Hermes, the first-ever comparison study of blood-based biomarkers and digital Alzheimer’s test technologies. Bio-Hermes compared the performance of dozens of blood tests, digital cognitive tests, retinal exams, and speech analysis with traditional methods of measuring cognition and PET images. The Bio-Hermes data set is expected to inform future clinical practice and clinical trial designs just in time to assist with the surge expected due to the recently approved disease modifying therapies for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

About the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP):

The nonprofit Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation was founded to speed the delivery of Alzheimer’s treatments with a commitment to promoting diversity in clinical research, as well as lowering the cost and duration of clinical trials to ensure that no one is left behind. As part of its mission, GAP supports more than 100 clinical research sites worldwide through study start-up and recruitment activities, promoting diversity in research studies, and giving attention to the citizen scientists who make research possible.

About Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative

The Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative is a coalition of leading academic, advocacy, government, industry, and philanthropy organizations that recognizes the need for dementia researchers to find easier ways to share unpublished data, analytical tools, and scientific findings. These partners are working together to accelerate progress towards new diagnostics, treatments, and cures in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

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