[Ip-health] News: PharmaTimes- Pfizer hooks up with Uni of California in novel research pact

Terri Beswick Terri at haieurope.org
Mon Nov 22 05:17:24 PST 2010

Pfizer hooks up with Uni of California in novel research pact 

World News | November 17, 2010 

Selina McKee 


Drug giant Pfizer has once again cast its eyes on academia as part of
its R&D strategy, signing an $85-million deal with the University of
California that marks the first under its newborn Global Centers for
Therapeutic Innovation network.


The world's largest drugmaker has unveiled plans for an innovative
entrepreneurial network of partnerships with leading academic medical
centres around the world, in a move designed to transform R&D by
"combining the unique advantages of top academic research institutions
with Pfizer's leading drug development capabilities and research
technologies", explained Mikael Dolsten, president of Pfizer Worldwide
Research & Development.


The scheme marks a step away from conventional public-private
partnerships in creating an open network of researchers from Pfizer and
academia to allow combined working on the identification and development
of promising experimental drugs, the idea being that this will
ultimately slash the timeline of transforming promising biomedical
research into new medications, which can currently take up to 15 years
and cost $1 billion.


"This new model complements the venture capitalist-funded biotech start
up and has the potential to catalyze the transformation of global
biomedical drug discovery by advancing scientific breakthroughs in
translational medicine," said Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Pfizer's
senior vice president of Worldwide BioTherapeutics R&D.


Pfizer's Global Centers for Therapeutic Innovation - which will be
headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and headed by Anthony Coyle,
former vice president and global head of respiratory, inflammation, and
autoimmune research at MedImmune Biologics - will initially focus on
collaborations within the US but is expected to expand into Europe and
Asia in 2012.


Each Center will operate under the rule of a Joint Steering Committee of
representatives from Pfizer and the academic medical center, who aside
from providing leadership will also gage the success of each program
through discovery and early stage clinical development, the company


Access to expertise


Under the first collaboration of the scheme, UCSF researchers will be
given unprecedented access to Pfizer's world-class R&D expertise, and
the University could potentially receive up to $85 million in research
support and milestone payments over the next five years if new therapies
for diseases with high unmet medical need are developed as a result.


"This is an excellent example of how we can fundamentally improve the
process of translating research into better drugs by bringing all of the
people involved to the same table," said Jeffrey Bluestone, UCSF
executive vice chancellor and provost. "This partnership takes advantage
of the expertise in both camps to create new ways to develop drugs that
have the potential to achieve their most important goal - improving
patient health," he added.




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