Pfizer to stop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease research

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced its intention to stop research and development in areas including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

This comes as most unwelcoming news for millions of people worldwide who are suffering from these neurodegenerative disorders. Experts say that because of the rise in the elderly population, the diagnoses of these neurodegenerative and progressive disorders with little or no cure, is on the rise.

Alzheimer's disease on MRI.  Image Credit: Atthapon Raksthaput / Shutterstock
Alzheimer's disease on MRI. Image Credit: Atthapon Raksthaput / Shutterstock

These conditions are typically intractable and difficult to cure. Their progress may be halted or slowed initially but eventually they progress to their more final and debilitating states. This means that traditional pharmaceutical approaches are bound to fail sooner or later. This is one of the primary reasons why pharmaceutical companies would be disinvesting in these diseases say pharma experts. The effects of this announcement on other pharmaceutical companies that are presently investing into research and development of drugs in these areas is yet to be seen.

Pfizer in their announcement stated that they would be ending their neuroscience discovery programmes and this was a decision taken after a review. Over 300 jobs would be lost in the process they stated.

This was seen as a “disappointing” blow to the people living with Alzheimer’s said the Alzheimer's Society. Alzheimer's Research UK too stated that more and more pharmaceutical companies should step forth to investing ton neuroscience research.

Pfizer however states that the company would create a new fund that would keep up the neuroscience research in future. The company statement reads, “We have made the decision to end our neuroscience discovery and early development efforts and re-allocate funding to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients.”

However, all is not lost and there are several other companies and agencies that are working in the areas of neuroscience research that deals with new drug discovery in these debilitating disorders. Experts add that over the last one and half decades several clinical trials for new drugs in Alzheimer’s disease have failed. This has cost the companies millions of dollars and this decision comes as a result of those failed attempts and losses. Other companies that are still working on these diseases include Biogen, Abbvie, Novartis, Janssen, and Eli Lilly. Further, the Alzheimer's Society has promised £50m to pump up research at the UK Dementia Research Institute by joining hands with Alzheimer's Research UK and the Medical Research Council.

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