Pfizer Cancels Research on Alzheimer’s Treatment

Pfizer Cancels Research on Alzheimer’s Treatment

Pfizer Cancels Research on Alzheimer’s Treatments

The business of health research can often seem cold.

In a surprising decision, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, has announced that they will stop funding research that aims to find new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease in order to redistribute money. Pfizer expects that the decision will result in around 300 layoffs in their neuroscience programs located in Andover and Cambridge, Massachusetts and Groton, Connecticut.[1] Pfizer’s total revenue was around $50 billion last year.[2] This decision is likely a result of research on degenerative neurological disorders being very costly with little returns in profit. Treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown little advancement. As discussed in our previous blog post, NPR’s interview with Joseph Jebelli revealed that a lot of current treatments for Alzheimer’s are “better than nothing.”[3] Indicating, that we still have a long way to go if we want to find an effective treatment or cure for these degenerative diseases. Even if this is the case, some people may be wondering why ceasing research on Alzheimer’s treatment is the “correct” decision to make.

According to NPR, this is not the first time Pfizer has caused disappointment as a result of a financial decision. In 2012, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson stopped research on the drug bapineuzumab after they discovered they were not making progress on helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease.[4] Reallocating money, according to Pfizer, will allow them to focus on research ventures that have more potential for success. However, this decision may not be good news for the over 5 million individuals across the U.S. that currently suffer from Alzheimer’s, as well as their families who care for them. In a tense exchange with writers at Gizmodo, representatives for Pfizer asserted that they are not merely halting research on Alzheimer’s merely because it was “too expensive.” The representative stated, this was decided to “re-allocate spend across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest.”[5]

How this decision will influence the future of Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment remains to be seen.

According to Reuters, Pfizer announced that will release a new venture fund to invest in new neuroscience research.

Other people, like Joseph Jebelli, remain optimistic that breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research will continue to advance. We hope so, too.

[1] Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-alzheimers/pfizer-ends-research-for-new-alzheimers-parkinsons-drugs-idUSKBN1EW0TN

[2] Source: https://gizmodo.com/pfizer-halts-drug-research-for-alzheimers-and-parkinson-1821874256

[3] Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/08/576443442/pfizer-halts-research-efforts-into-alzheimers-and-parkinsons-treatments

[4] Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/08/576443442/pfizer-halts-research-efforts-into-alzheimers-and-parkinsons-treatments

[5] Source: https://gizmodo.com/pfizer-halts-drug-research-for-alzheimers-and-parkinson-1821874256

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