SFI and Pfizer announce partnership for biotherapeutic breakthroughs

11 Feb 2014

SFI's director Mark Ferguson welcomed the announcement

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and biopharmaceutical company Pfizer have announced a partnership for the development of biotherapeutic treatments for rare diseases.

The agreement will span over a period of three years and will be available to all qualified academic researchers from Irish universities with novel drug targeting ideas.

Universities are also invited to submit proposals for ideas by this March and will be assessed by SFI and Pfizer.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work with the Pfizer Global Biotherapeutics Technology (GBT) group, including Pfizer colleagues at the Pfizer Grange Castle site, in an effort to develop the next generation of potential protein therapies.

This will enable the blending of the research expertise of academics with Pfizer’s drug discovery and development expertise and resources.

It is hoped this collaboration will identify exciting new advances that may lead to the accelerated creation of potential new therapies for unmet medical needs.

Making important breakthroughs

Speaking about the partnership, SFI’s director Mark Ferguson, says that there needs to be more partnerships between academic and industries likes this for the betterment of developing new therapies: “This innovative partnership with Pfizer, one of the world’s premier research-based pharmaceutical companies, could help to deliver and promote important potential breakthroughs in the areas of immunology and rare diseases. It also creates a platform for building future collaborations between academia and industry in the area of biomedical research.”

Adding to this, Dr Paul Duffy, vice president at Pfizer, commented:  “Pfizer’s purpose is to innovate to bring therapies forward that significantly improve patients’ lives. R&D is at the heart of fulfilling this purpose as we work to translate science into potential therapies that matter most.”

The agreement is part of SFI’s Agenda2020 strategy to increase funding and research to organisations  and innovators by millions of euro.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic