[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 3-Nov-2011
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Contact: Heather Buschman, Ph.D.
hbuschman@sanfordburnham.org
858-795-5343
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Pfizer collaborate to speed drug discovery

IMAGE: In Sanford-Burnham's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, scientists use robotic arms like this one to search hundreds of thousands of chemical compounds for the few that might become tomorrow's...

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LA JOLLA, Calif., November 3, 2011 Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) is the latest research organization to partner with Pfizer, Inc. as part of Pfizer's commitment to transforming research and development through a focus on translational medicine. The Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) is a research unit at Pfizer dedicated to open innovation through establishing global partnerships with academic research institutions to bridge the gap between discovery science and clinical applications.

"Pfizer is truly excited to work in this new partnership with leading experts from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to understand more about the mechanisms that drive diseases with high unmet medical need," said Anthony Coyle, Ph.D., vice president and head of Pfizer's Global Centers for Therapeutic Innovation.

Using a combination of grant funding, philanthropy and strategic partnerships, Sanford-Burnham has built a sophisticated infrastructure for advanced drug discovery in the last few years, including recruiting industry-trained leadership with a track record of success in putting drugs into clinical development. Working with the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) unit at Pfizer will provide Sanford-Burnham investigators with access to additional resources including select Pfizer compound libraries, proprietary screening methods, and antibody development technologies that are directly relevant to the investigators' work.

"The 'open innovation' model of the CTI is a perfect fit for Sanford-Burnham," said Sanford-Burnham CEO John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Donald Bren Chief Executive Chair. "The Institute's culture of collaboration is enhanced by the opportunity to work side by side with Pfizer researchers. Partnering with Pfizer accelerates our ability to translate our research more quickly into the development of biopharmaceutical products."

Centers for Therapeutic Innovation have been established by Pfizer in New York, Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, where the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) announced their participation in the CTI initiative in August 2011. Sanford-Burnham is one of only two participating institutions that are not academic medical centers. Given Sanford-Burnham's proximity to UCSD, it is anticipated that the Institute will collaborate with UCSD when a project reaches the clinical stage.

The CTI will provide funding to principal investigators for postdoctoral support (trainees within a laboratory who have recently completed doctoral studies), and provide technical support including dedicated personnel in addition to access to infrastructure encompassing laboratory space, chemical libraries, robots, etc. Financial details were not available, but the program has been described by Pfizer as being highly incentivized.

"Pfizer's CTI program represents a new model for early stage drug development," said Paul Laikind, Sanford-Burnham's Chief Business Officer, a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of three start-up companies that are now publically traded. "Aggressively working to close the gap between discovery research and clinical application benefits research, benefits patients, and ultimately adds to the innovation economy."

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About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham, with operations in California and Florida, is one of the fastest-growing research institutes in the country. The Institute ranks among the top independent research institutions nationally for NIH grant funding and among the top organizations worldwide for its research impact. From 1999 2009, Sanford-Burnham ranked #1 worldwide among all types of organizations in the fields of biology and biochemistry for the impact of its research publications, defined by citations per publication, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. According to government statistics, Sanford-Burnham ranks #2 nationally among all organizations in capital efficiency of generating patents, defined by the number of patents issued per grant dollars awarded.

Sanford-Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. For more information, please visit www.sanfordburnham.org.



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