Pfizer expects to cut about 100 jobs in Groton

Pfizer has announced that it has decided to halt its neuroscience early development programs mostly concentrated on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The pharmaceutical company said in a statement Saturday that it will redirect funds "to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients."

Pfizer said it anticipates reducing 300 positions in coming months, mostly in Cambridge and Andover, Mass., and in Groton, with about 100 expected at each site.

The company says it routinely reviews its research and development operations to ensure that it is "in the strongest possible position to support scientific discovery and development to bring new therapies to patients who need them."

"Any decision impacting colleagues is difficult; however, we believe this will best position the company to bring meaningful new therapies to market, and will bring the most value for shareholders and patients," the company said in the statement. "We are thankful for the contributions of our colleagues who have supported our neuroscience portfolio and are committed to supporting them during this transition."

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Saturday the news of Pfizer's ending of research for new treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and the expected staff reductions. The Journal reported that Pfizer, along with others in the pharmaceutical industry, had spent significant money on efforts in recent years to advance ways to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, but the efforts were unsuccessful.

"We will continue to fully support our late-stage development programs for tanezumab and Lyrica, and our Rare Disease programs in the neuromuscular or neurology area, all of which are an integral part of our current R&D portfolio," the company said in the statement to The Day. The company said that its total spending on Research and Development is not changing.

"We recognize that neuroscience is an area of tremendous unmet need for patients and we plan to create a dedicated neuroscience venture fund to support continued efforts to advance the field," the company added.

The company said it would release more details on the fund later this year.

k.drelich@theday.com

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