Pfizer's $50-Million Drug-Discovery Partnership

August 11, 2011
Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

Pfizer has partnered with the University of California's San Diego Health Sciences in a drug discovery collaboration that could see Pfizer invest up to $50 million over the next five years in the development of new therapies.

Pfizer has partnered with the University of California’s San Diego Health Sciences (UCSD) in a drug-discovery collaboration that could see Pfizer invest up to $50 million over the next five years in the development of new therapies. The partnership will leverage UCSD’s expertise in neurosciences, cancer, inflammation, metabolism, clinical pharmacology, HIV, and pain.

The collaboration was formed through Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI). Pfizer established the CTI initiative last year, with the aim of creating a network of collaborative partnerships with research institutions to help bring new breakthroughs into the company’s pipeline. Pfizer currently has CTIs in California, Massachusetts, and New York.

“The collaborative partnerships formed through the CTI between Pfizer and academic medical centers, such as UCSD, allow leading medical and clinical experts to join with Pfizer’s highly skilled scientists—using Pfizer’s resources and expertise and each institution’s advanced drug development capabilities to speed the translation of innovative science into medicine for patients,” Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, senior vice-president and head of BioTherapeutics Research and Development for Pfizer, said in a statement.

The $50-million figure represents an estimate of the total support for research programs and potential milestone payments to UCSD for successful projects. The collaboration will include laboratory space at Pfizer’s R&D campus in La Jolla, California, to enable scientists from both Pfizer and UCSD to work closely together. Pfizer has also said that it will provide access to some of its antibody libraries and technologies.

“Public-private partnerships are increasingly important in scientific research, especially in an era of decreasing federal grant support when resources are needed to commercialize innovations related to healthcare,” Gary Firestein, dean and associate vice-chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the UCSD School of Medicine, explained in the statement.

Firestein added that the main aim of the collaboration was better testing of clinical hypotheses and an increase in the speed at which medicines can be developed.

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