Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation Partners with UCSF to Expand Drug Discovery Capabilities

UCSF Becomes First Partner in Both Small-Molecule and Biologics Discovery

By Kristen Bole

Pfizer has announced the expansion of its Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) into the development of small-molecule drug candidates through a partnership with UC San Francisco.

This partnership provides investigators from UCSF with access to Pfizer’s industry-leading small-molecule drug development capabilities, working side-by-side with Pfizer scientists with the goal of jointly translating promising basic research into drug candidates that have the potential to bring innovative new therapies to patients.

“This expansion is part of the natural evolution of CTI as we continue to drive forward the next generation of innovative, differentiated medicines. With Pfizer’s strong heritage in medicinal chemistry, it makes perfect sense to expand CTI’s mandate to include small-molecule projects,” said Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, PhD, group senior vice president and head of biotherapeutics R&D at Pfizer. “UCSF has been a great collaborator and has an established history in this area. I am confident that together we are better positioned to deliver faster and more efficient drug discovery with the aim of bringing new medicines to patients more quickly.

The collaboration builds upon an October 2010 agreement between CTI and UCSF in large-molecule – also called biologics – discovery, with both agreements aiming to accelerate the translation of biomedical research into new medications and therapies. According to the terms of this new collaboration, CTI will provide UCSF with funding and scientific expertise to support pre-clinical and clinical development of selected small-molecule research programs.  If drug candidates achieve agreed-upon objectives, the partnership between CTI and UCSF could move from discovery into clinical trials, leading to potential milestone payments and royalties in the event a product is commercialized.

“This is an exciting partnership that brings together UCSF’s deep expertise in fundamental biology with Pfizer’s strength in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, with the goal of ultimately translating discoveries into real benefits for patients,” said Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, executive vice chancellor and provost at UCSF.  “Combined with our existing alliance, this becomes the first collaboration in the nation that’s focused on translating both small-molecule and biologic expertise into new breakthroughs and better therapies.”

“We know from two years of working on biologic projects that CTI’s collaborative model works,” said Anthony Coyle, PhD, CTI’s chief scientific officer. “By expanding our mandate, CTI can engage additional investigators and extend our scientific core within this successful model.  UCSF was CTI’s first partner in the biologics space two years ago and, with its strong small molecules experience, it is the ideal first partner for this collaboration too.”

The small-molecule partnership began with a call for proposals on UCSF’s campus on March 22.  Funding decisions are expected to be made by the third quarter of 2013, with projects being incorporated into CTI’s pipeline at that time.

CTI anticipates engaging other partners to launch additional small-molecule projects this year.

About UCSF

UC San Francisco is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit

The UCSF Office of Innovation, Technology and Alliances coordinates the University’s efforts in forging collaborations that translate 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, non-profit, and government organizations.

About CTI

Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) is dedicated to the establishment of partnerships with Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) to transform research and development through a focus on translational medicine.  CTI is an open innovation network with 21 leading AMCs focused on joint discovery and development of therapeutics, from early research through clinical proof-of-mechanism in humans. This model offers leading investigators the resources to pursue potential scientific and clinical breakthroughs by providing access to select Pfizer compound libraries, proprietary screening methods and antibody development technologies that are directly relevant to the investigators’ work. The aim is to translate scientific ideas into clinically-differentiated candidates ready for evaluation in a stratified patient population. CTI laboratories include Pfizer employees working side-by-side with leading investigators and post-doctoral researchers from the AMCs. The CTI collaborative model effectively and efficiently combines the best ideas, research and expertise of the AMCs with Pfizer’s experience, technology and resources. For more information about CTI, visit

About Pfizer Inc.

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives.  We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products.  Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products.  Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world.  For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.  To learn more, please visit us at


The information contained in this release is as of May 29, 2013. Pfizer assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as the result of new information or future events or developments.

This release contains forward-looking information about a partnership between Pfizer and UCSF with respect to the potential discovery and development of drug candidates that involves substantial risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development; decisions by regulatory authorities regarding whether and when to approve any drug applications that may be filed for any such drug candidates as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such drug candidates; and competitive developments.

A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in Pfizer’s Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012 and in its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.