Tony Coles takes the reins at the startup formed by Bain Capital using 11 programs jettisoned by Pfizer.
Boston-based Cerevel Therapeutics was founded in 2018 by Bain Capital’s Life Sciences group to leverage 11 different Pfizer neuroscience programs that the pharma giant no longer wished to pursue. These compounds target neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and addiction, with four candidates in the clinic; two (a dopamine D1 agonist for Parkinson’s and a GABAA positive modulator for epilepsy) are in late-stage development.
Recently, Tony Coles, who has served as Cerevel’s Executive Chairman of the Board since December 2018 has also taken on the role of CEO. Coles most recently was cofounder and CEO of Yumanity (where he remains Executive Chairman), and has also been a CEO of several other biotechs, including Onyx Pharma, which was acquired by Amgen.
The company has raised $350 million and has six clinical trials planned, including a phase III study for Parkinson’s disease and programs for focal onset seizures, schizophrenia and substance-use disorders. It also plans to initiate internal drug discovery programs to build on the 11 foundational ex-Pfizer candidates and has taken space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it will build out laboratories.