The FINANCIAL — Pfizer Inc. announced 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 PBGI, Pfizer is investing up to $500 million in biotechnology companies, providing funding and access to Pfizer’s scientific expertise to help ensure the continuity of promising clinical development programs of potential future strategic interest to Pfizer.
Pfizer’s initial PBGI investments include:
$10 million in Vancouver, BC-based ESSA Pharma (Nasdaq: EPIX), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel and proprietary therapies for the treatment of patients with prostate cancer.
$25 million in Cambridge, Mass.-based Trillium Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TRIL), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on developing innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer. In addition, Jeff Settleman, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Oncology Research & Development Group, was named to Trillium’s Scientific Advisory Board.
$25 million in Cambridge, Mass.-based Vedanta Biosciences, a privately held clinical-stage company focused on developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases based on rationally defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria. In addition, 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, Mass.-based Homology Medicines (Nasdaq: FIXX), a clinical-stage genetic medicines company focused on treatments for rare genetic diseases with significant unmet medical needs. In addition, Seng Cheng, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit, has joined Homology’s Scientific Advisory Board for 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. “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.”
Established in June 2020, the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative focuses on non-controlling equity investments primarily in public companies with small- to medium-sized market capitalizations and mature private companies that are developing clinical-stage assets aligned with Pfizer’s core areas of focus: Internal Medicine, Inflammation & Immunology, Oncology, Rare Disease, Vaccines, and Hospital. In addition to equity, Pfizer looks to strengthen collaboration through participation on company and scientific advisory boards, as well as securing certain strategic rights when of mutual fit.