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Pfizer lays out gene therapy aspirations

January 28, 2020 / Jonathan Gardner

Pfizer aims to be the third big pharma with a significant presence in gene therapy. Its plans to initiate this year three Phase 3 trials targeting mutation-driven blood and muscular diseases would make it a large player in this cutting-edge area of medicine. The difference between Pfizer and its Swiss rivals Novartis and Roche is that its treatments for muscular dystrophy and hemophilia do not look like they will be the first to market. With hopes that gene therapy could be a one-and-done treatment, arriving second could put Pfizer at a disadvantage if eager patients rush for curative therapies. Having spun of its off-patent drugs business, the pharma is now trying to talk up the "new Pfizer." Its gene therapies are among seven pipeline projects that it cited Tuesday during its year-end earnings call as critical to its strategy of becoming a more innovation-focused company.