Pfizer announced on Jan. 12, 2021 that, during the second half of 2020, it invested a total of $120 million in four clinical-stage biotech companies as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative (PBGI). Through this initiative, Pfizer is investing up to $500 million in biotechnology companies in an effort to provide funding and access to the company’s scientific expertise. The aim is to help ensure the continuity of promising clinical development programs of potential future strategic interest to Pfizer.
Initial PBGI investments include:
- $10 million in Vancouver, BC-based ESSA Pharma, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel and proprietary therapies for the treatment of patients with prostate cancer.
- $25 million in Cambridge, MA-based Trillium Therapeutics, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on developing innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer. Jeff Settleman, senior vice-president and chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s Oncology
- Research & Development Group, was also named to Trillium’s scientific advisory board.
- $25 million in Cambridge, MA-based Vedanta Biosciences, a privately held clinical-stage company focused on developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases. The company’s work is based on a rationally defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria. Michael Vincent, senior vice-president and chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s Inflammation & Immunology Research Unit, will join Vedanta’s scientific advisory board.
$60 million in Bedford, MA-based Homology Medicines, a clinical-stage genetic medicines company specializing in treatments for rare genetic diseases with significant unmet medical needs. Seng Cheng, senior vice-president and chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit, has joined Homology’s scientific advisory board. He will handle matters related to Homology’s gene therapy and gene editing programs for phenylketonuria (PKU).
“Pfizer has a long history of collaborating across the healthcare ecosystem with the shared goal of turning great science into innovative new medicines,” said Debbie Baron, senior vice-president of Business Development, Pfizer, in a company press release. “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.”