US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has earmarked $600m of new biotech and neuroscience startup investments through its Pfizer Ventures arm.

Pfizer said that about a quarter of the fund would be used to target promising early-stage neuroscience companies.

Barbara Dalton, senior managing partner of Pfizer Ventures, said, “By expanding Pfizer’s venture capital efforts under Pfizer Ventures, we hope to extend both the breadth and depth of Pfizer’s support for the development of cutting-edge science from concept to products.

“Building on our existing investments and proven track-record, we will look to identify and invest in emerging companies that are advancing compounds and technologies with the hope of delivering life-changing therapies to patients in need.”

Six of Pfizer Ventures’ current portfolio company investments focus on breakthrough neuroscience, including Aquinnah, Autifony, Cortexyme, MindImmune, MISSION, and Neuronetics.

Pfizer was instrumental in the launch the Dementia Discovery Fund three years ago, a specialist venture capital fund that invests in novel science to create meaningful new medicines for dementia.

Since October 2015,DDF has raised more than $190m and built an initial portfolio of 12 investments in dementia drug discovery companies and projects.

Beyond neuroscience Pfizer Ventures will continue to invest across areas including oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare disease, internal medicine and vaccines.

Companies developing technologies that have the potential to transform drug discovery, development and manufacturing will also be considered.

Pfizer Ventures actively manages an existing investment portfolio of more than 40 companies.

Combined with approximately $500m invested to date, the additional funding brings Pfizer Ventures’ total assets under management to more than $1bn.

Recent investments include Adapsyn Bioscience, Complexa, Cydan II, DIR Technologies, eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Jnana Therapeutics, and Strata Oncology.

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