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Pfizer teams up with University of California for drug discovery

Published on 09/08/11 at 10:13am

Pfizer has signed a deal with the University of California to help expand its drug discovery and development programme.

The company will invest up to $50 million over the next five years toward the collaboration, with much of it going to support research programmes and potential milestone payments to University of California San Diego Health Sciences for successful projects.

The partnership includes dedicated lab space at Pfizer’s La Jolla research and development campus, which allow scientists from Pfizer and UC San Diego Health Sciences to work closely together.

This collaboration is part of the company’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI), a network of collaborative partnerships with top life science research institutions in California, Massachusetts and New York that aims to accelerate drug discovery and development.

Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, head of BioTherapeutics R&D at Pfizer, said: “The collaborative partnerships formed through the CTI between Pfizer and academic medical centres allow leading medical and clinical experts to join with Pfizer’s highly-skilled scientists and advanced drug development capabilities to speed the translation of innovative science into medicines for patients.

“Our ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between scientific discovery and the delivery of promising candidates to the pipeline.”

Pfizer established its first CTI in California in November 2010 through a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco.

CTI part of evolving R&D model

Pfizer is currently restructuring its R&D model as it looks to cut around $3 billion from its research bill by 2012, and is looking for new ways to create a strong and sustainable pipeline.

The firm said its CTI differs from other open innovation programmes in its unique, non-traditional business model that is based on “true collaboration, co-location and transparency, with generous incentives to its participants”.

As part of the CTI, Pfizer will provide access to some of its antibody libraries and technologies, as well as dedicated resources and support from Pfizer’s experts in drug development and protein sciences.

The company said it would also provide funding to support the pre-clinical and clinical development of sponsored programmes, offer CTI partners equitable intellectual property rights, and grant milestone payments and royalties related to the advancement of drug candidates.

Ben Adams

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