Pfizer ends R&D investment in Alzheimer’s treatment

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Pfizer is ending its neuroscience discovery and early development programme, an area which includes research into drug development for Alzheimer’s disease. 
The US-based company expects that 300 jobs will be lost in its neuroscience discovery and early development programmes in Andover, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Groton, Conneticut.

Pfizer will reallocate this funding to those “areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients.”

It will not make any changes to R&D funding for tanezumab, which is being tested as a treatment for joint pain from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia treatment Lyrica, or its rare disease programme.
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said that it was “disappointing” that Pfizer was terminating research efforts in neuroscience, including Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery.

“With no new drug for dementia in the last 15 years, this will come as a heavy blow to the estimated 46.8 million people currently living with the condition across the globe.”

However, he said that there was still reason for people and families affected by dementia to be hopeful. “The G7 nations have committed to finding a disease modifying treatment by 2025 and this is still within reach as long as research investment is increased and sustained across the board.

“Alzheimer’s Society has committed £50m to fund new research at the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) alongside Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Medical Research Council. By working to understand the processes that cause dementia in unprecedented detail, the UK DRI researchers aims to reinvigorate the pipeline for drugs that can slow, stop or prevent this devastating condition.

“As we make progress in our understanding of the diseases that cause dementia, we hope pharma will unite with us to turn breakthroughs into treatments that could improve the lives of millions.”