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.
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.