Pfizer confirms neuro cuts as it swings the ax on a host of other early projects

Pfizer HQ
By Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pfizer already forewarned that it was cutting jobs and projects out of its neuro unit. Now we have the full list of retired candidates, alongside a host of other experimental drugs up for the chop.

The neuro cuts come as no surprise, as during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference at the start of the month, the Big Pharma giant announced, much to the disappointment of charities, that it was to cut around 300 jobs and a number of earlier stage projects from its neuroscience pipeline.

The move was set to see it back out of work in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, two notoriously difficult areas for the industry, especially the former, which has not seen any real R&D advance in 15 years.

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Released during its financials this morning, Pfizer said that on the neuro side, it was axing eight projects in total, predominately phase 1 tests in Alzheimer’s, but also a midstage Parkinson’s drug, and a phase 2 drug for epilepsy, namely PF-06372865.

On top of this, it’s also cutting a phase 1 project in NASH that worked as a myeloperoxidase inhibitor and in hyperlipidemia, which was a diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2 inhibitor.

Also in phase 1 it axed three cancer assets: an ephrin-A4 targeted cytotoxicity; a chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) inhibitor for a certain type of blood cancer; and an IDO1 inhibitor.

This IDO, a hot topic in cancer research right now, was partnered with Belgium's iTeos Therapeutics; back in September, the pair started work on the drug in certain forms of brain cancer. 

In all, 14 projects were cut from its pipeline since the last quarter.