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Pfizer buys FoldRx

Pfizer has acquired FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, a drug development company that focuses on small molecules to treat chronic degenerative diseases

Pfizer has completed its acquisition of US-based FoldRx Pharmaceuticals, a privately held drug development and discovery company that focuses on small molecules to treat chronic degenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding.

Pfizer did not disclose how much it is paying for FoldRx, but in announcing the agreement earlier, the companies said that the deal calls for an upfront payment and contingent payments if certain milestones are achieved.

"This transaction will add another important component to the growing portfolio of innovative in-line and investigational medicines for orphan and rare diseases within Pfizer's Specialty Care Business, and will complement the current and planned future research and clinical development taking place in Pfizer's Specialty Care Neuroscience disease area," said Geno Germano, president and general manager of Pfizer Specialty Care.

FoldRx's lead drug candidate, tafamidis meglumine, is an oral, disease-modifying therapy that has completed clinical trials as a treatment for the rare, progressively fatal genetic neurodegenerative disease TTR amyloid polyneuropathy, which can currently only be treated by liver transplant.

Tafamidis has orphan drug designation for the indication in the US and the European Union, as well as fast-track designation in the US. FoldRx has filed a marketing authorisation application for tafamidis with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about filing a US application.

The company also has preclinical drugs in its pipeline aimed at protein trafficking diseases including cystic fibrosis, as well as neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

FoldRx is about three years into a five-year, $22m collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics intended to further the discovery and development of new compounds aimed at treating a core defect in cystic fibrosis using FoldRx's yeast-based, high throughput screening platform.

The company was founded by Dr Jeffery W Kelly, who is the Lita Annenberg Hazen professor of chemistry in the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and vice president of academic affairs and dean of graduate studies of the Kellog School of Science and Technology at the Scripps Research Institute, and Dr Susan Lindquist, who is a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

7th October 2010

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