Pfizer closes its neuroscience unit
Pfizer has announced that it is set to close its neuroscience division, which will end its research and development operations in developing treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
At present, Pfizer is one of the largest pharmaceutical giants with nearly 10 drugs in development. It is therefore unclear as to how this decision will further halt the time in which it will ultimately take to bring a successful drug to market.
"As a result of a recent comprehensive review, we have made the decision to end our neuroscience discovery and early development efforts and re-allocate [spending] to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients," Pfizer explained in a statement emailed to NPR.
The decision will lead to the end of up to 300 jobs, which has proved disheartening for many. "Of course, it's disappointing to hear that Pfizer, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, will be terminating their research efforts in neuroscience, including Alzheimer's disease drug discovery,” commented Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at The Alzheimer's Society,
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"The brain is the most complex organ in the body and developing drugs to treat brain diseases is a tremendous challenge, but with no new drug for dementia in the last 15 years, this will come as a heavy blow to the estimated 46.8 million people currently living with the condition across the globe."
However, Pfizer has made great efforts in sponsoring a multitude of clinical trials, costing millions in revenue. Many other pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lily and Novartis, are holding out hope in sourcing a treatment which will eradicate the disease altogether, as it remains one of the top causes of death worldwide with no cure.
Over five million citizens in the US are living with Alzheimer’s, which could rise to 16 million by 2050, according to The Alzheimer’s Association, leading costs to rise above a trillion dollars.
"It is vital that all of us - charities, government and industry alike – to make long-term commitments to dementia research if we are to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia," commented Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer's Research UK.
Nonetheless, Pfizer have stated that they will be looking at developing a venture arm which will see the outsourcing of research and development into creating solutions within neuroscience.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”