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UCSF, Pfizer Renew Research Collaboration

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UC San Francisco and Pfizer Inc.’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) have renewed an agreement to identify and develop biologic compounds against both known and novel targets, including the immune system, in diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

The collaboration involves working to better understand the mechanisms driving disease processes, including inflammation, as well as defining the characteristics of patient populations that might benefit from new therapies.

In 2010, UCSF became the first university to enter into a collaboration with CTI, a research group with the goal of speeding the discovery and development of innovative antibody drugs, and, in 2013, it was the first institution to enter into a collaboration with CTI specifically to identify potential new small molecules against novel disease targets.

The CTI collaboration comprises several ongoing research projects. One focuses on developing a treatment for malignant brain tumors in young children due to a genetic mutation with a novel small molecule kinase inhibitor. The team at UCSF consists of Nalin Gupta MD, PhD, Daniel A. Lim, MD, PhD, and Michael D. Prados, MD, from the Department of Neurological Surgery. Another, in which CTI has partnered with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is working with UCSF scientist Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, focuses on developing a novel immune-modulatory agent to treat type 1 diabetes with an accelerated path into human clinical trials.  Projects are identified periodically through a process that includes an announcement of requests for proposals, proposal submissions, and reviews by a steering committee comprised of leading Pfizer and UCSF scientists.

“This type of public-private collaboration holds great promise for identifying new drug development strategies and for moving the best ideas more quickly into clinical trials,” said Daniel Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost at UCSF. “It’s an essential path to follow if we are going to help people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening chronic conditions. We are seeing promising molecules begin to emerge from these collaborative projects, and we look forward to more in the years to come.”

According to Pfizer CTI’s Chief Scientific Officer Anthony Coyle, PhD, “CTI’s collaboration with UCSF has set a course for exciting drug discovery projects. As a scientist, I see novel research being done under CTI’s collaboration with UCSF; involving Pfizer’s powerful drug development resources has the potential to be a game-changer for patients.”

The collaborations between UCSF and Pfizer CTI are managed by the UCSF Innovation, Technology and Alliances office, which is responsible for coordinating the University’s efforts in building collaborations that focus on translating cutting-edge science on campus into therapies and products that directly benefit patients worldwide. The office oversees intellectual property, technology transfer, and innovative alliances with commercial, nonprofit and government organizations.

Story from UCSF. Please note: The content above may have been edited to ensure it is in keeping with Technology Networks’ style and length guidelines.