Pfizer announced it will be ending its early-stage research in neuroscience and cutting around 300 jobs, a third of which will be in the Groton area.
The neuroscience programs, which were in pre-clinical and Phase I/II stages, were primarily focused on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The company will continue to work on programs for tanezumab and Lyrica, both of which deal with nerve pain, and the rare disease programs in the neuromuscular and neurology areas. The company said overall researching and developing spending remains the same and they are simply reallocating spending to where their scientific expertise is strongest.
The 300 jobs being cut are primarily at the company’s locations in Groton, Cambridge, Mass., and Andover, Mass. The reduction will take place over the next few months.
"Any decision impacting colleagues is difficult; however, we believe this will best position the company to bring meaningful new therapies to market, and will bring the most value for shareholders and patients. We are thankful for the contributions of our colleagues who have supported our neuroscience portfolio and are committed to supporting them during this transition," the company said in a statement.
Company officers said they still have plans for a future neuroscience venture fund and will release more details on that later in the year.
"I’m not nervous. Pfizer’s going to be here for a while," Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick said.
Hedrick said he talked with Pfizer on Monday morning and a representative told him they’re going to do what they can to keep those employees in Groton.
"Last year they built a fuel cell, which was a $10 million fuel cell. They have an additional building that they’re going to do in the next two to three years. So that shows me they’re committed to staying in southeastern Connecticut," Hedrick said on Monday.
The restaurant Hummos House has been across the street from Pfizer for the last year.
"It’s going to hurt me. Other restaurants depend on this, so they’re going to get hurt," Hummos House owner Ayman Karsou said.
According to Karsou, Pfizer employees are half his business.
"It’s bad," Karsou said. "I feel bad for their families because they have families.