Pfizer and UCB Form New Company to Speed Drug Discovery

October 23, 2008
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Pfizer and UCB formed a technology company named Cyclofluidic with the aim of accelerating the drug-discovery process.

London (Oct. 20)-Pfizer (NewYork) and UCB (Brussels) formed a technology company named Cyclofluidic with the aim of accelerating the drug-discovery process. The United Kingdom government’s Technology Strategy Board facilitated the collaboration between Pfizer and UCB and will cofund Cyclofluidic’s research and development (R&D).

Cyclofluidic will develop technologies that automate and integrate processes known as flow chemistry and flow biology to help pharmaceutical companies shorten drug-development timelines. In addition, Cyclofluidic will train flow-chemistry and flow-biology scientists at its facility, which will be located in the south of England.

The new company will develop a microfluidic closed-loop lead-optimization platform that enables researchers to access state-of-the-art expertise in flow chemistry, flow screening, and microfluidic engineering. The platform will be created through extensive collaboration with key academics and component manufacturers. Cyclofluidic intends to allow researchers to test a greater range of potential new medicines in a shorter time than was previously possible.

“Our role is to stimulate the development and deployment of technologies which, as well as benefiting society, also provide global business opportunities for the UK,” said Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board. “Cyclofluidic is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to develop world-leading technologies, which have the potential to bring enormous benefit to patients in the UK and around the world.”

“Cyclofluidic’s entry into the rapidly evolving microfluidic technology area has the potential to radically transform the medicinal-chemistry and biology interface,” said Neil Weir, senior vice-president of research at UCB. “It’s an exciting opportunity for UCB and Pfizer to collaborate and offers real potential for improved productivity, underlining our commitment to innovation for patients.”

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with UCB and the Technology Strategy Board to help improve efficiency in the drug-development process,” said Annette Doherty, vice-president and research head at Pfizer’s European R&D headquarters. "We are excited by the potential of this new partnership to help us identify the most effective medicines for later stages of development and, ultimately, create new and improved therapies for patients.”

Cyclofluidic will be jointly owned by Pfizer and UCB, and each company will have a seat and scientific-observer rights on Cyclofluidic’s board.