Pfizer has announced that, during the second half of 2020, it invested a total of $120m in four clinical-stage biotechnology companies as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative.
Following last year’s success, Pfizer aims to invest up to $500m in biotechnology companies in 2021, whilst also providing access to Pfizer’s scientific expertise to help ensure the success of the clinical development programmes.
How was the $120m allocated?
Pfizer granted $10m to the Vancouver-based company ESSA Pharma (Nasdaq: EPIX), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that is focused on developing novel and proprietary therapies for the patients with prostate cancer.
An additional $25m was given to Trillium Therapeutics, from Cambridge, Canada. The clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focuses on developing innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer.
$25m was allocated to Vedanta Biosciences, also located in Cambridge, Canada, for the development of a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases, based on rationally defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria.
US-based Homology Medicines received $60m. The company aims to treat those suffering from rare genetic diseases with significant unmet medical needs. In addition, Seng Cheng, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit, has joined the company’s Scientific Advisory Board for matters related to Homology’s gene therapy and gene editing programmes for phenylketonuria (PKU).
About the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative
Established in June 2020, the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative focuses on equity investments primarily in public companies that are developing clinical-stage assets aligned with Pfizer’s core areas of focus: internal medicine, inflammation and immunology, oncology, rare disease, vaccines, and hospital. In addition to equity, Pfizer looks to strengthen collaboration through participation on company and scientific advisory boards, as well as securing certain strategic rights when of mutual fit.
Debbie Baron, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Pfizer, said: “Pfizer has a long history of collaborating across the healthcare ecosystem with the shared goal of turning great science into innovative new medicines. Our investments in Homology, Vedanta, Trillium, and ESSA reflect our commitment to find new and creative ways to leverage Pfizer’s resources to deliver breakthroughs to patients.”