The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative has invested a total of $120 million into four separate clinical-stage biotech companies. Pfizer anticipates the initiative to invest up to half-a-billion dollars in small- to medium-sized companies developing clinical-stage assets aligned with Pfizer’s core areas of focus.
The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative was first announced in June. The goal of the project is to not only provide funding for scientific research, but also allow those recipients to have access to Pfizer’s own experts in order to ensure the continuity of clinical programs that could be of potential strategic interest for the pharmaceutical giant.
So far, Pfizer has invested in Essa Pharma, Trillium Therapeutics, Vedanta Biosciences and Homology Medicines. In addition to equity investments, Pfizer’s initiative is used to strengthen collaboration through participation on company and scientific advisory boards, as well as securing certain strategic rights when it fits the company’s needs.
“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,” Debbie Baron, head of Business Development at Pfizer said in a statement.
Based in Vancouver, Essa Pharma is focused on developing novel and proprietary therapies for the treatment of patients with prostate cancer. Pfizer invested $10 million into the company. In September, Essa received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for EPI-7386 an investigational, highly-selective, oral, small molecule inhibitor of the N-terminal domain of the androgen receptor. EPI-7386 is currently being studied in a Phase I clinical trial in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose tumors have progressed on current standard-of-care therapies.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Trillium Therapeutics received $25 million from Pfizer. Trillium is also oncology focused. The company’s two clinical programs, TTI-621 and TTI-622, target CD47. TTI-622 is in a Phase Ia/Ib study in in patients with advanced relapsed or refractory lymphoma or multiple myeloma. The other asset, TTI-621 is in a Phase I study in patients with advanced relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies. In addition to the equity investment, Jeff Settleman, chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s Oncology Research and Development Group, was added to Trillium’s scientific advisory board.
Vedanta Biosciences, also based in Cambridge, received $25 million in equity investment. Vedanta is a privately-held company focused on developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases based on rationally defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria. Vedanta’s VE707 microbiome program is designed to restore healthy microbiota and prevent infection and colonization recurrence by multi-drug-resistant superbugs. Over the past year, several of its programs have entered the clinic for C. difficile, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies and cancer immunotherapy. In addition to the investment, Pfizer’s Michael Vincent, CSO of the company’s Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit joined the company’s scientific advisory board.
Homology Medicines, based in Bedford, Mass., received the largest donation, $60 million. Homology is focused on treatments for rare genetic diseases with significant unmet medical needs. The company’s lead gene therapy asset HMI-102 is involved in a Phase I/II study for adults with phenylketonuria. HMI-102 is designed to encode the PAH gene, which is mutated in people with PKU. In connection with the investment, Pfizer’s Seng Cheng, CSO of the Rare Disease Research Unit, joined Homology’s scientific advisory board.
到目前为止，辉瑞已经投资了Essa Pharma，Trillium Therapeutics，Vedanta Biosciences和Homology Medicine。除股权投资外，辉泽公司的倡议还被用来通过参加公司和科学咨询委员会以及在符合公司需要时确保某些战略权利来加强合作。
总部位于马萨诸塞州剑桥的Trillium Therapeutics从辉瑞获得了2500万美元。延龄草也专注于肿瘤学。该公司的两个临床项目，TTI-621和TTI-622，目标是CD47。TTI-622在晚期复发或难治性淋巴瘤或多发性骨髓瘤患者中处于IA/IB期研究。另一个资产，TTI-621是在晚期复发或难治性恶性血液病患者的I期研究。除了股权投资外，Pfizers肿瘤学研发集团首席科学官Jeff Settleman被加入Trilliums科学顾问委员会。
同样位于剑桥的韦丹塔生物科学公司获得了2500万的股权投资。韦丹塔是一家私人控股公司，专注于基于合理定义的人类微生物衍生菌群，开发一种新的免疫介导疾病疗法。Vedantas VE707微生物组计划旨在恢复健康的微生物群，防止多重耐药超级细菌的感染和再次定植。在过去的一年里，它的几个项目已经进入临床用于艰难梭菌，炎症性肠病，食物过敏和癌症免疫治疗。除了投资之外，Pfizers公司炎症和免疫学研究部门的CSO Michael Vincent加入了公司的科学顾问委员会。
总部位于马萨诸塞州贝德福德的同源医药公司收到了最大的捐款，6000万英镑。同源性集中在治疗罕见的遗传疾病，有重大的未满足的医疗需求。该公司的领先基因治疗资产HMI-102参与了一项针对苯丙酮尿症成人的I/II期研究。HMI-102被设计来编码PAH基因，该基因在PKU患者中发生突变。与这笔投资有关，辉泽斯罕见病研究部门的CSO Seng Cheng加入了Homologys科学顾问委员会。