UCSD, Pfizer to partner on new drugs

Pfizer, Inc. and UCSD Health Sciences announced Monday that they have signed an agreement they believe will speed the up development of new drugs that has a potential value to UCSD over five years could top $50 million, according to a press release.

The pharmaceutical firm, which already has facilities in San Diego, has similar agreements with other life science research institutions across the country as part of its Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI).

“The collaborative partnerships formed through the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation between Pfizer and academic medical centers such as UC San Diego 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, Ph.D., senior vice president and head of BioTherapeutics Research and Development for Pfizer, said in a press release.

The agreement is based on “continuous collaboration and transparency” and offers incentives for success, the release noted. Pfizer will provide UCSD researchers access to some of its antibody libraries and technologies, as well as funding to support the pre-clinical and clinical development of sponsored programs. CTI partners receive intellectual property rights and are granted milestone payments and royalties tied to the advancement of mutually agreed-upon drug candidates.

Gary S. Firestein, M.D., dean and associate vice chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UCSD School of Medicine, said the collaboration utilizes the university’s medical research strengths in key areas including neurosciences, cancer, inflammation, metabolism, clinical pharmacology, HIV and pain.

It also will build upon efforts of CTRI to emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration among UCSD scientists and develop innovative approaches to solve difficult medical challenges, the release noted.