- Pfizer and Bain Capital have created a new spinoff company that will focus on developing therapies for central nervous system disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy, the two companies announced Tuesday.
- Cerevel Therapeutics will take a handful of clinical and pre-clinical compounds from Pfizer, $350 million in initial funding from Bain and put two executives from each organization on its corporate board. The new pharma will be based in the greater Boston area.
- Bain will own 75% of Cerevel, with Pfizer retaining the remaining quarter. Spokespeople for both companies did not disclose further financial specifics.
In January, Pfizer announced it planned to shut down work on its neuroscience programs, cutting roughly 300 related research positions in the process. The move, Pfizer said, reflected a decision to reallocate resources to areas where the company believes there is a greater chance to succeed.
Through Cerevel, the pharmaceutical giant will forgo a financial investment yet keep some skin in the game by receiving a 25% stake in exchange for contributing a group of therapeutic candidates. Bain will supply the cash, with an initial $350 million coming from its private equity and life sciences divisions.
Cerevel set some lofty ambitions in its Tuesday roll-out.
Adam Koppel, a managing director at Bain Capital Life Sciences, said Cerevel aims to become a leader in neurology and neuropsychiatry.
In a roll-out video for Cerevel, Koppel explained that the pharmaceutical industry's focus in oncology, immunology and rare diseases left opportunities in neurology for the new company.
Joining Koppel on Cerevel's board from Bain is Chris Gordon, a managing director for the private equity vertical. In the video, Gordon indicated the company will potentially look for M&A opportunities to further expand its pipeline.
"It's a really broad portfolio for what is in theory a start-up biotechnology company, but in fact has the pipeline of a much more mature pharmaceutical company," Gordon said.
Most of that pipeline, though, is early. Cerevel's website lists eight total compounds, five which are preclinical.
Leading its pipeline is a D1 partial agonist that could enter a Phase 3 study for Parkinson's disease in 2019, the companies stated Tuesday.
"The initial set of priorities will be to move the mid- to late-stage clinical assets through development into regulatory assessment and hopefully into early commercial launch," Koppel said.
The deal's format is a familiar arrangement for Pfizer. Earlier this year, the company got a 25% stake in launching Allogene Therapeutics with a slate of early CAR-T cancer immunotherapy candidates. Allogene debuted on the Nasdaq on Oct. 11 with a market valuation of nearly $3 billion.