Because toxicity issues are a major source of product failure, identification of markers of toxicity would allow companies to drop bad compounds before spending resources on clinical trials. Though many pharma companies do much of their toxicity research in-house, Pfizer Inc. last week began a collaboration with Ciphergen Biosystems Inc. to identify protein markers of toxicity for use in preclinical models.

Under the deal, CIPH (Fremont, Calif.) will use its Surface-Enhanced Laser Desorption/Ionization (SELDI) ProteinChip technology to identify protein markers of compound toxicity in rat models of disease. The research will be conducted