Pfizer to funnel $500M into biotechs, offering 'crucial capital' during the COVID-19 crisis

Pfizer building
(Tracy Staton)

In a pandemic world, the biotech funding environment couldn’t look brighter, and today Pfizer shone its own light.

The Big Pharma giant is committing $500 million through the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative to a series of biotechs alongside access to its “scientific expertise” in order to keep the “most promising clinical development programs” ongoing during a pandemic that is hitting so many new trial starts.

The expertise access includes being able to tap Pfizer’s resources in research, clinical development and manufacturing.

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Specific details are a little thin, but the areas Pfizer will target will need to dovetail with its own focuses including oncology, rare diseases, internal medicine, inflammation and immunology and vaccines.

This will add to the $5 billion-plus already sloshing around for biotechs after a series of major venture capital raises in 2020, a year that has seen financial chaos almost everywhere except biotech funds and IPOs, which appear to be impervious to the affects of COVID-19.

Two years back, Pfizer ran a $600 million VC fund—setting aside 25% for investments in neuroscience startups—after its retreat from in-house R&D.

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“There has never been a more important moment to pursue new collaborations in our industry," said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer. “The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative seeks to do just this by injecting crucial capital into biotechnology companies that share our commitment to delivering transformative therapies for patients.”

If you’re a biotech working in these areas, Pfizer says drop it a line: [email protected].

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