Following exit from new drug discovery in neuroscience, Pfizer creates Cerevel Therapeutics to pick up the baton

Having announced in January that it would end early development programmes focused on neuroscience, with the loss of 300 jobs, Pfizer said Tuesday that it has partnered with private investment firm Bain Capital to create a new company, called Cerevel Therapeutics, focused on developing drug candidates to treat disorders of the central nervous system.

Pfizer has contributed three clinical-stage compounds and several preclinical agents to Cerevel, with Bain Capital committing $350 million in funding. According to Pfizer, the most advanced asset in Cerevel's portfolio is a D1 partial agonist that is expected to enter Phase III development in 2019 to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The compounds also include a Phase II ready selective GABA 2/3 agonist, which will initially be studied for epilepsy.  

Pfizer will retain a 25-percent equity position in Cerevel, with the former's chief scientific officer of internal medicine Morris Birnbaum and senior vice president of worldwide business development Doug Giordano serving on the new company's board.

"We are excited that Cerevel will continue to develop the Pfizer compounds, contributing to the broad scientific understanding of both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and fulfilling a responsibility to patients with these devastating diseases and their families," Birnbaum commented.

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