Amount: $350 million
Round: Seed capital
Investors: Funds affiliated with Bain Capital Private Equity and Bain Capital Life Sciences
The scoop: Pfizer started 2018 with some ominous news for its neuroscience R&D: The Big Pharma planned to cut several earlier-stage programs and 300 jobs from its CNS unit. Some of those assets found their way to Cerevel Therapeutics, along with a $350 million cash infusion from Bain Capital, which will bankroll development of three clinical-stage programs, as well as several preclinical ones.
Cerevel’s lead asset, a dopamine D1/5PA agonist under study in Parkinson’s disease, is set to enter phase 3 this year. The company's also working on a pair of phase 2-ready programs: the GABA 2/3 antagonist PF-06372865 for epilepsy and an M4 positive allosteric modulator that Cerevel will explore in “a psychosis-related indication.” The rest of the lot are preclinical programs in addiction, psychosis and neuroinflammation, as well as Parkinson’s disease.
Cerevel’s launch followed a similar Pfizer spinoff, SpringWorks Therapeutics, which came to life with $103 million and four clinical-stage Pfizer programs.
“It is a model that makes a lot of sense for pharma companies, if they can find the right partner,” said Chris Gordon and Adam Koppel, M.D., Ph.D., managing directors at Bain Capital Private Equity and Bain Capital Life Sciences, at the time. This type of deal can push forward “assets that might not be optimally developed internally … while maintaining involvement and economic upside.”