Pfizer has done it again. The biggest of Big Pharma has signed another development deal with a US University as it attempts to build a discovery model that takes advantage of academia. The news marks Pfizer's expansion of its West Coast Center for Therapeutic Innovation, following announcements for Boston, New York and San Francisco. This latest deal will provide the University of California at San Diego $50 M in funding over the next 5 years.
Pfizer established its Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) as part of a drive for more open, collaborative, and entrepreneurial-minded research, with the goal of dramatically slashing years from the time spent in drug development. Pfizer's goal is to cut down the academic development stage to a fraction of the eight-year average. The partnership is intended to build on the expertise in translational medicine that UC San Diego boosted last year, when its Clinical and Translational Research Institute received a five-year, $37.2 million award from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the NIH.
The partnership will open some of Pfizer's antibody libraries to UC San Diego scientists to help support the pre-clinical and clinical development of sponsored programs. Pfizer grants intellectual property rights to its partners, who also are granted milestone payments and royalties based on how well drug candidates advance in the pipeline. See Xconomy and Fierce Biotech.
These early-stage academic programs are a central feature of Pfizer's new approach to drug development as the pharma giant chops billions of dollars out of its R&D budget. With major R&D centers slated to be shuttered or scaled back, Pfizer is trying to establish an open ecosystem for R&D, where collaboration is a centerpiece of drug development work.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Aug 8th 2011.