Pfizer Global Research and Development (PGRD) has been going through some major restructuring, and in an effort to spur innovation has opened an independent research center in the Bay Area. This “biotherapeutics and bioinnovation center” will be headed up by experienced bioentrepreneur Corey Goodman. Is it possible that this could lead to some cell therapeutic-based products to enter the Pfizer pipeline?
To quote this linked article:
Goals of Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center
Pfizer’s new biotherapeutics and bioinnovation center, with Dr. Corey Goodman as President, will be based in the San Francisco Bay area and will combine cutting-edge biology, new platform technologies, and advanced research tools to discover and develop new medicines. This new venture is a significant departure for Pfizer and the pharmaceutical industry. Located in one of the hubs of biotechnology, the Center will have the entrepreneurial spirit of biotech and collaborate broadly with the academic, biotech, and venture communities to focus on discovering and developing new medicines.
Dr. Goodman commented, “The Center will be built on a new model, capturing the best of both the biotech and pharmaceutical worlds. On the one hand, the Center will be independent, able to pursue its own research interests, free to establish its own distinct culture, and empowered to recruit entrepreneurial scientists. However, what makes this model unique is the ability of the Center to leverage all of the vast strengths of PGRD, for example, gaining access to high-throughput screening and pharmaceutical science capabilities, exchanging knowledge and tools, working closely with PGRD’s biotherapeutics teams, and handing off new drug candidates to PGRD for late-stage clinical development. Martin and I will work closely together to assure that technology and capability flow freely between PGRD and the new Center.”
Dr. Goodman continued, “Biological innovation is exploding. There is so much to explore in terms of new targets and new technologies. With our collaborative and entrepreneurial model, we will be in the best position to find promising new targets, technologies and tools externally, to discover them organically, and to leverage them with the scale and know-how of PGRD so as to turn them into potential new medicines. While we will be focused on biotherapeutics, we will look for any innovative technology in any area that will help develop new medicines. We will be in the center of the California biotech and venture community, in the midst of some of the greatest biomedical research institutions, and will work to attract outstanding scientific talent, to seek collaborations, and to build incubators at this very exciting time for biological discovery. Martin and I share this vision with Jeff and will work together to provide Pfizer’s development team with innovative new product candidates.”
I will be very interested to see if any cell-based therapies will be established at this center. Big Pharma has avoided cells as it is so outside of their original business model. However, since this research center is “independent”, it should not be under the typical constraints and scrutiny that a Pfizer-controlled research center would be under. I see this as a possibility for some cell-based expertise and early stage projects to emerge within Pfizer, but outside their realm of control (which I believe would typically kill any project before it got too far).
If anyone knows the types of projects that will be launched there, please comment on the blog.