Venture Capital

Pfizer adds $600M to its venture group, with a special focus on the neurosciences field it just retreated from

Pfizer $PFE may have made an abrupt exit out of the neurosciences R&D arena, but it’s still interested in backing the biotechs willing to navigate the ultra-high risk field.

Denis Patrick

The pharma giant today more than doubled its commitment to its venture arm, adding $600 million in firepower and devoting $150 million of that for new rounds backing upstarts in the neurosciences world.

Pfizer Ventures has already backed a small group of players in the field: Aquinnah, Autifony, Cortexyme, MindImmune, MISSION, and Neuronetics. The company also helped in the creation, funding and launch of the Dementia Discovery Fund in 2015.

Now it will go deeper, focusing on neuro-degeneration, neuro-inflammation and neuro-metabolic disorders. 

Pfizer spent billions of dollars on attempts at developing Alzheimer’s drugs, but never got close to the finish line. Its recent decision to terminate its internal focus on neurosciences triggered a move to ax about 300 staffers. 

“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,” said Denis Patrick, the managing partner of Pfizer Ventures.

Patrick, Laszlo Kiss, Margi McLoughlin, Chris O’Donnell and Nikola Trbovic are joining the pharma giant’s venture team, which will also stay focused on oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare disease, internal medicine and vaccines.

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