Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is halting its research efforts to discover new drugs for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The pharmaceutical behemoth said the decision will lead to 300 layoffs from its neuroscience discovery and early development programs in Andover and Cambridge, Massachusetts and Groton, Connecticut. The job losses will take place over the next few months.
As expected, Pfizer said the termination of research and layoffs will help better position the company, “to bring new therapies to patients who need them.”
The New York City-based company said it will continue to support “tanezumab,” a late-stage pain treatment for joint pain from osteoarthritis, and its fibromyalgia, “Lyrica.” It will also continue research into neurological drugs for rare diseases.
“This was an exercise to re-allocate spend across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest,” the company said.
Pfizer, along with along with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY), are part of the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund launched in 2015 to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Attempts to develop new drugs for Alzheimer’s have been elusive. Pfizer’s partnership with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to develop “bapineuzumab,” a drug for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, ended in disappointment in 2012.
On Saturday, January 6, Pfizer announced it will launch a new venture fund to invest in neuroscience research projects. The Innovative Target Exploration Network (ITEN) is an early-stage partnering network the company has set up to develop collaborations with top-tier universities.
The new initiative has already forged ties with the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The University of Texas Southwestern is the first U.S school to participate in the ITEN. Pfizer will selectively include other schools to be part of the ITEN.
Pfizer said it hopes the ITEN will, “deliver novel therapeutic targets and mechanisms of action to underpin future drug discovery in core areas of interest.”
“Pfizer to Cut 300 Jobs as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Research Ends,” Bloomberg, January 7, 2018.
“Pfizer Announces Co-Primary Clinical Endpoints Not Met In Second Phase 3 Bapineuzumab Study In Mild-To-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Who Do Not Carry The APOE4 Genotype,” Pfizer Inc., August 6, 2012.
“Pfizer Establishes New Partnering Model For Early-Stage Academic Research,” Pfizer Inc., January 6, 2018.