NEW YORK, May 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a first-of-a-kind collaboration between academia and industry, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) will give scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis unprecedented access to information regarding more than 500 pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical candidates in a partnership that focuses on discovering new uses for existing compounds.
Under the five-year agreement announced today, Pfizer will provide $22.5 million to Washington University and give its scientists access to research data on a large array of Pfizer pharmaceutical candidates that are currently or were formerly in clinical testing.
Identifying new uses for existing compounds is known as indications discovery. The potential for its success continues to grow, as scientists understand more fully disease mechanisms at the most basic molecular level and the influence of genetic variations on patients' responses to medications.
"There are two realities in drug discovery," explains Don Frail, chief scientific officer of Pfizer's Indications Discovery Unit. "The majority of candidates tested in development do not give the desired result, yet those drugs that do succeed typically have multiple uses. By harnessing the scientific expertise at this leading academic medical center, the collaboration seeks to discover entirely new uses for these compounds in areas of high patient need that might otherwise be left undiscovered."
The partnership represents a new approach in academia-industry collaborations that has the potential to develop drug compounds more efficiently. By sharing Pfizer's data on existing compounds, researchers will not have to replicate extensive preclinical studies, thereby shaving years off the time it takes to evaluate new uses for existing drugs.
The agreement builds on the long history of collaboration between the two organizations and brings together scientists from Pfizer and Washington University to jointly propose, design and carry out research on those compounds across a broad range of disease areas in which the University has internationally renowned scientific expertise, such as Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and related metabolic disorders, and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"We are pleased to see our long-standing relationship with Pfizer evolve into this innovative model of partnership that has the potential to benefit the many patients whose medical needs can't be met with existing drugs," says Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor and dean of Washington University School of Medicine. "We look forward to the many discoveries that will emerge from this collaboration."
To encourage the exchange of ideas, Pfizer's Indications Discovery Unit has developed an online portal through which certain Washington University investigators will have unprecedented access to information about Pfizer's proprietary compounds, including extensive clinical and preclinical data. The compounds have been extensively studied and their mechanisms of action are well-understood. An advisory committee composed of scientists from both Washington University and Pfizer will evaluate proposals for new research that have been co-written by University and Pfizer researchers.
To facilitate the collaboration, Pfizer's Indications Discovery Unit is moving its laboratories from Chesterfield, Mo., in suburban St. Louis, to the Center of Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange biosciences district (CORTEX), in the heart of St. Louis' growing biotech corridor, adjacent to Washington University School of Medicine.
The Washington University-Pfizer partnership has its roots in a research agreement the University signed in 1982 with a St. Louis-based predecessor to Pfizer. The new agreement differs from other relationships in which pharmaceutical companies, even in collaborations with academic scientists, have not disclosed propriety information about drug compounds.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for both partners," says Jeffrey Gordon, MD, director of the University's Center for Genome Sciences, who worked closely with Pfizer on the new agreement. "It leverages the complementary strengths and interests of both Washington University and Pfizer. By creating this innovative new framework, academic and pharmaceutical researchers can collaborate in ways that are mutually advantageous for the University, Pfizer and society to meet the needs of patients."
Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
Pfizer Inc.: Working together for a healthier world™
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals. Our diversified global health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world's leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.
DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The information contained in this release is as of May 17, 2010. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.
This release contains forward-looking information about potential new uses for existing compounds that involves substantial risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding whether and when to approve any drug applications and supplemental drug applications for such new uses for existing compounds that may be filed for such compounds as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect their availability or commercial potential of such new uses for existing compounds; and competitive developments.
A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009 and in its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.
SOURCE Pfizer Inc.