Bain Capital and Pfizer launch a new biopharma company
Bain Capital, LP and Pfizer Inc have launched new biopharma company focused on developing drug candidates to treat disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Named Cerevel Therapeutics, Pfizer is contributing a portfolio of pre-commercial neuroscience assets to Cerevel, which include three clinical-stage compounds and several pre-clinical compounds designed to target a broad range of CNS disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia and addiction.
Funds affiliated with Bain Capital Private Equity and Bain Capital Life Sciences have committed $350mn with the ability to provide additional capital should it be needed in the future.
Bain Capital is a leading global private investment firm with 19 offices on four continents and deep experience in healthcare. The new company will aim to expand treatment options in a therapeutic area where there is an urgent unmet need for patients.
Bain Capital and Pfizer will support Cerevel in building a dedicated team of CNS scientists and life sciences executives with extensive experience in clinical development of potential therapies for patients who have neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.
The most advanced assets in the portfolio are a D1 partial agonist which will likely enter Phase III in 2019 to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and a Phase II ready selective GABA 2/3 agonist which will initially be studied for epilepsy. The company also has active programmes in early development, discovery and a research program in neuroinflammation.
Pfizer will retain a 25% equity position in Cerevel. Two senior Pfizer executives, Morris Birnbaum, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer of Internal Medicine, and Doug Giordano, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Business Development will serve on the Cerevel Board of Directors, along with Adam Koppel and Chris Gordon, Managing Directors of Bain Capital. The company will be based in the Greater Boston area.
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The name Cerevel Therapeutics has been derived from the phrase "cerebral revelation," Bain Capital Life Sciences Managing Director Adam Koppel stated to CNBC.
"Cerebral comes from cerebellum, the brain. Revelation, to unlock the mysteries and secrets of the brain.
"Years ago, we started having dialogues with various pharmaceutical companies about partnerships to fund their R&D pipelines. For a long time, they struggled to get off the ground, because a lot of times it was tough to find ways for the financial investor and the pharmaceutical company to both get what they wanted": a good financial return for the former, and "optionality" on their pipelines for the latter.”
“We are dedicated to developing this promising portfolio of assets thoughtfully, and will provide the right resources to enable Cerevel to build an experienced leadership team that is committed to developing life changing therapies for patients who are struggling with CNS diseases,” explained Chris Gordon, a Managing Director at Bain Capital Private Equity.
“The broad portfolio we are investing behind consists of several clinical candidates with unique chemistry to enable specific receptor targeting, which has the potential to drive a differentiated clinical profile,” added Koppel.
“We are excited that Cerevel will continue to develop the Pfizer compounds, contributing to the broad scientific understanding of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and fulfilling responsibility to patients with these devastating diseases and their families,” said Birnbaum.
A guide to labelling compliance for medical devices
Small medical device manufacturers often find themselves scrambling to achieve the necessary compliance and validation, risking costly mistakes.
Validating systems and processes including labelling, to ensure they are compliant with stringent regulatory standards is tough and can be expensive. Indeed, compliance with the EU’s Medical Device Regulation (MDR) will cost more than 5% of annual sales, according to 48% of 101 companies polled by the German company Climedo Health, in July and August 2020 about their MDR-readiness.
But if companies bungle the software validation process or put incorrect and uncompliant data on the labels themselves, the penalties are likely to be more severe than just making corrections. Health and safety may be put at risk and fines imposed for failing to comply. When it comes to compliance, they may become overwhelmed with regulations in other geographic regions that focus on device traceability, each with a unique device identifier (UDI-like) component to it.
On the validation front, companies may not be familiar with the software validation process and the multiple tests and documentation necessary for validation are demanding if companies only have a small IT team that is very busy.
Putting a plan in place
MDR-compliant labelling, however, brings with it certain requirements which differ from what is demanded under the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) system rules. Under MDR, for example, manufacturers must ensure the label specifically states the device is a medical one using an MD symbol in a box. This is only one of many stipulations that usually require redesigned labels.
Small medical device manufacturers who rely on time-consuming and error-prone manual or legacy labelling processes to facilitate these label updates run the risk of mislabelling which can lead to non-compliance. They may have limited staff and no structured processes around roles and responsibilities when it comes to label design, changes and approval. As project leads work toward a compliant labelling process, it is therefore important to establish defined roles and access for each stage of the process.
When dealing with a compliance initiative, up to date, correct and compliant labelling is imperative. This involves having all the relevant label design elements in place to comply with the EU MDR or FDA regulations. Many times, label templates are hard coded, meaning IT must be involved in making changes. And with IT staff often being tasked with multiple mission-critical projects in the organisation, labelling projects can be delayed. For many small medical device manufacturers who have limited resources, finding a solution can be a challenge.
Why labelling in the cloud offers a roadmap forward
Validation-ready cloud labelling solutions have now emerged to ease compliance with regulations and time-consuming validation requirements. These solutions, built with the needs of regulated companies in mind, digitise the quality control processes and facilitate compliant labelling with role-based access, approval workflows and electronic signatures. Outside of compliance, carrying out labelling in the cloud drives scalability and productivity for small medical device manufacturers and boosts overall efficiency.
The latest cloud labelling solutions integrate with other cloud solutions, allowing for seamless functionality and minimising the need for local infrastructure resources and cost.
When it comes to validation, as with many labelling systems, those hosted in the cloud have vendor-supplied documentation that streamlines the process and significantly eases the burden when it comes to installation qualification (IQ). The manufacturer itself has a much lighter burden and a streamlined path to a validated system and process.
A more relaxed software release schedule eases the validation burden on life sciences companies because the software is updated once a year rather than multiple times. This gives them a continuously updated and maintained labelling solution without increasing the validation workload on their IT staff.
The manufacturer would of course need to work closely alongside the vendor and review the documentation, but, if needed, the vendor is able to do much of the work for them, providing not only the full validation acceleration pack but also professional services to assist with the validation process.
While some medical device manufacturers choose to tackle validation on their own, the vendor supplied validation acceleration pack or documentation helps to simplify the process. Consultancy and advice around validation is usually available from the vendor, tailored to the business’s specific needs.
Given the immense hassles of compliance for small device manufacturers, cloud-based labelling systems offer the benefits of a full label management system while easing compliance and validation. This is a future-proof technology. With a cloud-based labelling system, medical device manufacturers can be confident that they are running the most up-to-date software, enabling them to address the fast-changing new regulations and cope with whatever comes their way. And especially in the current pandemic, when face-to-face meetings are still problematic, it is a perfect way to keep labelling operations moving forward.