Pfizer to end Alzheimer's, Parkinson's research

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Pfizer to end Alzheimer's, Parkinson's research
Pfizer to end Alzheimer's, Parkinson's research

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced that it will end its research and development programs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's treatments and “re-allocate funding to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients.”

The decision comes as the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease to prevent and effectively treat and Alzheimer's and other dementia by 2025 looms, although drugs to treat both diseases remain in the pipelines of other pharmaceutical companies.

In a statement provided to McKnight's Senior Living on Monday, Pfizer said that it will announce later this year plans to establish a “dedicated neuroscience venture fund to support continued efforts to advance the field” of neuroscience. “We recognize that neuroscience is an area of tremendous unmet need for patients,” the company said.

Meanwhile, programs involving neuroscience drugs in late-stage development at Pfizer, including tanezumab for chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain and pregabalin (Lyrica) for nerve and muscle pain, including fibromyalgia, will continue, according to the company. Pfizer also said it will move forward with its rare disease programs in the neuromuscular or neurology area.

“Our overall R&D spend remains the same at this time and is at the high end of our industry peers,” the statement said. “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 decision will result in 300 layoffs — mainly at sites in Cambridge, MA; Andover, MA; and Groton, CT — over the next several months, the company said.

“Any decision impacting colleagues is difficult; however, we believe this will best position the company to bring meaningful new therapies to market and will bring the most value for shareholders and patients,” Pfizer said.

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