Pfizer has established a research unit to find new medicines for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 patients.

The Rare Disease Research Unit is expected to pursue treatments across all therapeutic areas and modalities, and will serve as the focal point for the company’s existing rare disease research.

Pfizer plans to work closely with patient advocacy groups as it develops and advances the unit’s research strategy.

The company added that the unit will allow it to couple its existing experience in rare diseases such as haemophilia with its advanced protein technologies, using combined resources and scientific teams to drive it further into research.

The Rare Disease Research Unit will be led by Edward Mascioli, founder and CEO of Dapis Capital, a private equity firm focused on healthcare and the life sciences.