UC San Diego teams with Pfizer for research

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The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Health Sciences has joined other U.S. life science research institutions as part of Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI).

CTI seeks to drive drug discovery by providing a business model based on collaboration and transparency, one which offers incentives for its participants. For example, as part of the CTI program, New York City-based Pfizer will provide UCSD researchers access to some of its antibody libraries and technologies, as well as funding to support the preclinical 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.

The potential value to UCSD over the five-year agreement could exceed $50 million.

According to Gary S. Firestein, MD, dean and associate vice chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at UCSD School of Medicine, the collaboration utilizes UCSD's medical research in areas including neurosciences, cancer, inflammation, metabolism, clinical pharmacology, HIV and pain.

UCSD will also build upon efforts of the School of Medicine's expanding CTRI, launched in 2010 to emphasize interdisciplinary collaboration among its scientists and develop new approaches to medical challenges. Last year, the CTRI received a five-year, $37.2 million award from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health. The award also was designed to improve biomedical research for the application of laboratory discoveries into effective treatment for patients, engaging communities in clinical research and training future researchers.

CTI laboratory staff will include Pfizer employees plus basic and translational science investigators and doctoral candidates from UCSD School of Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, along with other UCSD researchers in biological sciences, bioengineering and at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.