As Pfizer And UCSF Tighten Ties, More Deals With Academia Could Follow
Pfizer Inc.’s latest pledge to academic research, a five-year $85 million agreement to fund projects at the University of California, San Francisco, isn’t just a deepening of the Big Pharma’s commitment to on-campus studies intended to bridge the so-called Valley of Death between the laboratory and the commercial sector. It’s also a sign of the increased importance of deals between pharmas and universities, which give commercial partners access to new research earlier in the development process while nudging academics toward projects with commercial relevance in mind.
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Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation program has grown in less than three years to include 24 academic partners. First drug candidate to emerge from the research model is expected to enter the clinic this year, and Pfizer’s investment in CTI has grown.
VentureHealth combines the best in venture and crowdfunding, and has two exits to show for it. Plus Valeant buys Bausch & Lomb, GSK buys Okairos, AZ buys Omthera, while ThromboGenics/Array, Pfizer/UCSF, and Amgen/Astellas do deals.
The pharma and the incubator’s venture arm will provide seed funding for start-ups emerging from their collaborative efforts. Later, Roche may participate in Series A funding or even opt in to buy programs or whole companies.