Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA has joined a growing list of scientific groups to team with Pfizer on its effort to spur translational medicine programs for early-stage research. Pfizer will now open up its compound libraries, screening techniques and antibody development technologies to Sanford-Burnham investigators.
"The 'open innovation' model of the CTI is a perfect fit for Sanford-Burnham," said Sanford-Burnham CEO John Reed, M.D., Ph.D. "The Institute's culture of collaboration is enhanced by the opportunity to work side by side with Pfizer researchers to accelerate our ability to translate our research more quickly into the development of biopharmaceutical products."
Sanford-Burnham has expanded significantly in recent years. The National Institutes of Health awarded Sanford-Burnham a $97.9 million grant in 2008 to establish a high-throughput screening center. It was renamed as the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics in 2009 when San Diego philanthropist Conrad Prebys agreed to donate $10 million to the institute. Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford prompted a similar name change for the institute itself when he pledged $50 million and the research center became the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.
Pfizer isn't the only big pharma to explore models working more closely with academic groups and research institutes. GSK, Sanofi and others have been fostering their own initiatives after growing increasingly disenchanted by the poor productivity of their in-house groups. In general, investors and analysts have further encouraged (without seeing if they actually work) such efforts. Its the trend du jour in R&D for now. See Fierce Biotech and Xconomy.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Nov 3rd 2011.