When pharma giant Pfizer announced in January the item planned to shut down early- as well as mid-stage neuroscience drug development, the item was another blow to a field already in a defensive crouch.
Diseases of the central nervous system — through Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to Lou Gehrig’s disease — have been incredibly difficult for drug developers to crack, as well as Pfizer’s retreat appeared in which the item might siphon more much-needed money as well as attention through the area.
however, as the item turns out, Pfizer’s not walking away completely. the item’s teamed with investment firm Bain Capital to create a brand new company composed of its neuroscience assets as well as funded with $350 million through Bain.
Its name: Cerevel Therapeutics, derived through the phrase “cerebral revelation,” explained Bain Capital Life Sciences Managing Director Adam Koppel, in an interview.
“Cerebral comes through cerebellum, the brain,” he explained. “Revelation, to unlock the mysteries as well as secrets of the brain.”
The brand new company will get about 10 programs in neuroscience as well as neuropsychiatry through Pfizer, including three already in clinical trials. Pfizer will add two directors: Doug Giordano, its senior vice president of worldwide business development, as well as Morris Birnbaum, chief scientific officer of internal medicine. Koppel as well as Chris Gordon, managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity, will also join the board. Pfizer will own 25 percent of the Boston-area company.
Its lead programs include a medicine for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in which can be likely to enter late-stage clinical testing next year, as well as one for epilepsy in which can be ready to start mid-stage studies. additional compounds target Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia as well as addiction.
The idea to found a company around a shelved asset through a bigger pharma company isn’t brand new; the item’s the design of biotech companies through Puma Biotechnology to Esperion to Axovant (in fact, both Puma’s as well as Esperion’s key drugs were licensed through Pfizer; Axovant’s was an Alzheimer’s medicine through GlaxoSmithKline in which ended in rather spectacular failure).
What’s different can be in which Pfizer remains more involved with these assets, Bain’s Gordon said.
“Years ago we commenced having dialogues with various pharmaceutical companies about partnerships to fund their R&D pipelines,” he said in an interview. “For a long time they struggled to get off the ground, because a lot of times the item was tough to find ways for the financial investor as well as the pharmaceutical company to both get what they wanted”: a not bad financial return for the former, as well as “optionality” on their pipelines for the latter.
the item’s a design Pfizer appears increasingly to be exploring: Last fall, Pfizer spun out Springworks Therapeutics, along with rights to four of its programs. Bain was among investors supplying the $103 million in initial funding.
In April, Pfizer said the item agreed to transfer some of its cancer immunotherapy assets to a brand new company called Allogene, of which the item might own 25 percent. Allogene sold shares in an initial public offering earlier This kind of month in which valued the company at more than $2 billion.
When Pfizer shut down its early neuroscience work, the item cited “continual setbacks” faced by its internal programs.
“We had to come to terms with the fact in which our research efforts were simply not creating the progress necessary to translate into truly transformational therapies for patients,” Mikael Dolsten, the company’s head of research, said in a statement.
as well as neuroscience drug development, particularly in Alzheimer’s, has been hard. however Koppel argues the area has seen more success than the item can be given credit for.
“There have been a lot of positive advances as well as important drugs in late-stage development or approved in neuroscience as well as neuropsychiatry,” Koppel said. “Maybe because of the profound failures in Alzheimer’s, there may be a more dramatic overhang on additional areas.”
He pointed to progress in migraine, where three brand new drugs have just been approved; treatment-resistant depression, movement disorders, rare diseases affecting the nervous system as well as diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy as well as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, where significant advancements have been made in gene therapy as well as additional approaches.
The $350 million through Bain to start Cerevel may be just the beginning; the firm indicated the item has the ability to provide more funding. Bain’s additional health-care investments span through contract research giant Quintiles, at This kind of point called IQVIA, to biotech companies Solid Biosciences as well as Dicerna Pharmaceuticals. Koppel can be a director at Solid as well as previously led corporate strategy at Biogen.
“We wish to build a world-class company; we think there are very few CNS (central nervous system) companies in which are out there purely dedicated to This kind of space,” Koppel said. “We think we can build one of those.”