Pfizer abandons costly hunt for new Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s drugs

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Pfizer Inc. said Saturday it will stop trying to discover new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, abandoning costly but futile efforts to find effective treatments for the disorders.

The cutback will result in layoffs of 300 employees in Cambridge and Andover in Massachusetts and in Groton, Conn., over several months, according to a company statement.

The restructuring won’t affect later-stage drug development for pain treatments Lyrica and tanezumab, or research into drugs for rare neurological diseases, Pfizer said.

The company plans to use the savings to fund drug R&D in other areas. “This was an exercise to reallocate [spending] across our portfolio, to focus on those areas where our pipeline, and our scientific expertise, is strongest,” it said. Like several peers, Pfizer












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  has invested heavily in developing treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s because of the huge need, but met disappointment when once-promising compounds failed to work during testing.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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