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.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!