TeamDrive
RUS

Pfizer puts neuroscience at heart of new $600M VC fund

09 June 2018

Nick Paul Taylor / FierceBiotech

Pfizer has committed $600 million to its VC fund. The Big Pharma is setting aside 25% of the money for investments in neuroscience startups, giving it a way to continue participating in the field despite its retreat from in-house R&D.

The plan gives Pfizer Ventures more cash overall and significantly more for investment in neuroscience. Pfizer used to spend $50 million a year on its venture wing, an approach it said made Pfizer Ventures equivalent to a $250 million private fund. Now, Pfizer is making $600 million available and calling out particular therapeutic areas for the first time.

Pfizer will invest around $150 million in neuroscience startups, with most of the remainder going to companies working in its core therapeutic areas. The singling out of neuroscience marks a shift in strategy, which previously made no mention of particular therapeutic areas or commitments to spend certain amounts in them, opting instead for a broad focus on drugs, platforms, diagnostics and technologies.

The new approach follows Pfizer’s decision to retreat from internal neuroscience R&D at the start of the year. Pfizer swung the ax on the unit, affecting staff at sites in Massachusetts and Connecticut, in the face of “continual setbacks” and recognition its work was failing to translate into breakthroughs.

Those struggles persuaded Pfizer it wasn’t best placed to perform neuroscience R&D but fell short of dispelling its interest in the field or belief that other teams can do better. As such, Pfizer outlined plans to step up its VC investments in neuroscience, leading to the unveiling of the $600 million fund and $150 million commitment to the therapeutic area.  

“By changing the way we invest in neuroscience, we hope to support an energized community of biotech entrepreneurs who are progressing the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of neurologic diseases and help advance potential treatments for people with neurological conditions,” Denis Patrick, Ph.D., managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, said in a statement.

Pfizer has picked out neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and neurometabolic disorders as the early areas of focus for its new neuroscience-skewed investment strategy. That maps onto Pfizer’s activity in the sector to date, which has given it a portfolio featuring companies such as Aquinnah Pharmaceuticals, Cortexyme and MindImmune.

In other regards, Pfizer is sticking with the strategy that has served the fund to date. Pfizer Ventures will continue to make around 80% of its investments in the U.S. and commit up to $10 million when it first invests. 

Source


Previous publication Next publication

Media Center

  • 20 June 2018

    First Russian intradermal implant obtained registration

    The first Russian intradermal implant has successfully passed the state registration. This product has been developed over the past three years with the support of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade as part of the state policy of import substitution.

  • 20 June 2018

    EEC changed rules for registration of vaccines and use of GMP certificates

    The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has amended the rules for registration and expert examination of medicinal products for human use in the Eurasian Economic Union. In particular, it adopted common approaches to the procedure for changing the registration documents for flu prevention vaccines.

  • 19 June 2018

    Russia is ready to supply insulin to Bulgaria

    The time has come to reduce imports from abroad and start establishing contacts with neighbors,” said Ivan Zarubin, acting Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Bulgaria, speaking at the Medicine and Pharmacy 2018, a Bulgarian-Russian business forum held in Sofia on June 13.

  • 19 June 2018

    Construction of a new pharmaceutical plant started in Usolye-Sibirskoye

    An official ceremony marking the launch of construction was held at the site of future plant for active pharmaceutical substances and finished medicinal products of Pharmasyntez-Chemie in Usolye-Sibirskoye on June 15.

Read more