Pfizer Inc. PFE, -0.71% said Tuesday it is planning to invest up to $500 million in biotech companies to support the sector’s most promising clinical development programs. “There has never been a more important moment to pursue new collaborations in our industry,” said John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, as he unveiled the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. The program will focus on small to medium-sized biotech company in the areas of internal medicine, inflammation and immunology, oncology, rare disease, vaccines and hospital. Pfizer shares rose 1.2% in premarket trade, but are down 9% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.33% has fallen 5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.15% has fallen 11%.

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