Pfizer to Spin Off New Rare Disease Drugs

Pfizer Inc. announced on Monday it would spin off four drugs that he decided to shelve to form a new company known as SpringWorks Therapeutics to give the four a better opportunity to be developed with the support of investors that include Bain Capital.

Three of these drugs are to treat rare diseases, including a pair that is set to be tested in trials that are late-stage. Being a part of the new SpringWorks will help them receive approval to treat populations that are underserved, said the president of the new company Lara Sullivan.

Some biotech firms such as Puma Biotechnology and Tesaro have been successful in acquiring then developing drugs that were once shelved.

Sullivan, who helped with leading the strategy for Pfizer’s pipeline for early stage until August, said there is good science, but constrained budgets. She added that some science, while good, does better within an alternative home.

The pharmaceutical giant contributed an amount it did not disclose to the funding of $103 million for SpringWorks.

Along with Bain Capital, a private equity company, investors include OrbiMed Advisors an investment firm in healthcare and medical research charity LifeArc.

Pfizer announced that it would keep a stake and would be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties.

The spin off might at some point go public but its funding is sufficient to complete the late stage trials with two drugs, file to have them approved, and begin the mid stage studies for two others, said CFO at SpringWorks Saqib Islam, a former Alexion Pharmaceuticals executive.

Amongst the further along SpringWorks treatments is its nirogacestat, a drug that is ready for late stage trials for treating desmoid tumors, which are non-metastatic slow-growing tumors that affect between 900 and 1,200 people annually and does not have any therapy approved in the United States.

Pfizer stopped testing the drug in breast cancer, but it was continued by the National Institutes of health in desmoid tumors.

Neurofibromatosis is targeted by the other drug that will start late-stage trials. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic mutation disorder which can cause tumors that are non-cancerous to form on skin and affects one out of 3,000 people in the U.S.

SpringWorks will develop treatments for a rare anemia known as hereditary xerocytosis that does not have any approved treatments inside the U.S.

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