Neuroscience & Pain

In the US today, seven of the ten leading causes of disability are caused by central nervous system (CNS) disorders, and the combined estimated US and EU economic burden of such disorders is over $1.5 trillion and growing. Pfizer is a global leader in this space and continues to invest heavily with products in each of the major classes. In Neuroscience, we are investigating new ways to attack Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and Schizophrenia, as well as a wide range of disorders that manifest symptoms which are common to several diagnoses, such as impaired cognition. Pain is a symptom where the CNS can both be a source as well as a potential therapeutic target. As such, our CNS expertise complements our historical pain franchise developing a new generation of analgesics.

Neuroscience – Primary areas of interest:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
    • Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including strategic partnerships on Pfizer assets
    • Parkinson's Disease (PD)
  • Trans diagnostic domains relevant to psychiatric disorders such as Cognition, Anxiety, and Motivation/Apathy

Other areas of focus:

  • Huntington's Disease (HD): siRNA and knock down approaches, symptomatic and disease- modifying treatments
  • Vascular Dementia (Cerebellar Amyloid Angiopathy)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – Remyelination approaches targeting Chronic Progressive disease only
  • Cerebrovascular disease- sensory disorders involving abnormal sensations of clinical relevance, e.g., visual, auditory, vestibular, or somatosensory systems
  • Adjunctive treatment of depression
  • Adjunctive treatment of depression
  • Addiction (opiate and alcohol)
  • Agents modulating (or biomarkers of) chronic neuroinflammation with evidence of impact on AD or PD neurodegeration
  • Imaging agents (e.g., tau, synuclein, neurotransmitters, neuroinflammatory markers and gliosis)
  • Conformational antibodies that have cross reactivity to all “amyloids” (e.g., tau, Aß, huntingtin, -synuclein)

Along with our Rare Disease Research Unit, we have an interest in rare CNS diseases and in novel technologies to address them (such as gene therapy).

Approaches to Trans Diagnostic Domains in Psychiatry/Behavioral Disorders:

  • Ketamine-like mechanisms without side effects, approaches such as oral Ketamine and GABA B
  • Standalone or adjunctive agents with superior efficacy for major depressive disorder as well as for subdomains such as anhedonia, motivation, cognition and anxiety
  • Adjunctive schizophrenia agents with efficacy in treating negative symptoms

Pain-Primary areas of interest:

  • Chronic Pain
    • Nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain
  • Acute Pain
    • Post-operative, moderate-severe pain associated with hospital and outpatient recovery
  • Novel targets where there is strong human genetic or pharmacological evidence for a role in pain initiation or treatment
  • Highly differentiated opiates which offer a significantly altered side effect potential and reduced abuse potential
  • Approaches to targeted delivery to pain circuits or pathways
  • Technology platforms for patient segmentation and precision medicine support

Enabling Technologies:

  • Novel modes of delivery of growth factors and other biotherapeutics
  • Gene therapy and other oligonucleotide-based approaches with CNS application
  • Technologies and models, such as imaging, enabling characterization of circuits related to neurofunctional domains (e.g., cognition, arousal, attention)
  • Tools for remote monitoring of motor function and cognitive state
  • In vitro blood brain barrier models derived from rodent, non-human primate or human sources
  • Plasma/CSF biomarkers coupled with phenotype, genotype and drug history, to predict responders, monitor disease, and to identify prodromal patients

Not actively seeking partnering opportunities in:


  • Protein “anti-aggregators”
  • Aß immunotherapies or vaccines
  • Anti-oxidants directed to neurology indications
  • COMT Inhibitors; MAO Inhibitors
  • Undifferentiated anti-psychotic or anti- depressant drugs
  • GlyT1 inhibitors, H3 Inhibitors, PDE Inhibitors (2, 4, 9, 10), mGluR5 inhibitors, or a4b2 nicotinic agonists
  • Stand-alone mania treatments
  • Stroke treatments without proof of concept in humans
  • MS approaches that primarily target patients with relapsing remitting disease
  • Large molecule therapeutics with CNS targets absent data for brain penetration
  • “Black box” mechanisms