Biopharmaceutical company, Pfizer Inc, announced it will shut down its neuroscience research branch, leaving 300 people without a job in the process. The exit will also see Pfizer drop all research into potential treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pfizer’s decision to steer away from the neuroscience business was due to the company’s wish to redeploy resources. As a result, employees working in Pfizer’s Massachusetts and Connecticut offices will be affected by the restructuring.
While the company will no longer invest in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s treatment, they will continue their joint partnership with Eli Lilly and Co., another global pharmaceutical company. The two companies developed a drug called tanezumab which prevents nerve growth and is used to alleviate pain caused by osteoporosis. Pfizer also announced it will still continue its Research and Development programs for the drug Lyrica, another drug used for pain treatment this time caused by diabetes, shingles and spinal cord injuries.
The company’s announcement was not received with much fanfare.
“It’s really alarming to see such a large pharmaceutical company deciding to abandon research into brain and central nervous system,” said James Beck, chief scientific officer at the Parkinson’s Foundation on Monday.
According to Beck, Pfizer’s move can stir similar sentiments in other biopharmaceutical companies who dabble in the neuroscience research sector.
Research into Parkinson’s has been a difficult endeavor in the past decade, let alone for Alzheimer’s. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, over 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease.
Pfizer is also said to be considering the creation of a finance arm that could have a structure similar to that of a venture, however, details on this are scarce. Sources claim that the company was considering the idea at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Monday.
Pfizer shares were down 1.1 percent to $36.47 on Monday.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons