Pfizer fleshing out its model
Since announcing the Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center in October last year, Pfizer Inc. has begun to string together deals it anticipates will provide proof-of-principle for a model it hopes will successfully marry the nimbleness and entrepreneurialism of biotech with the scale and resources of big pharma.
The pharma company believes its approach will create a better partnering interface for academia and biotech startups and help it play catch-up in the biologics space.
In April and in June, Pfizer entered into three deals at this interface: the first with a consortium of four universities and Entelos Inc., another with three California universities, and a third with stem cell company EyeCyte Inc.
In parallel, the pharma has started to apply similar organizational principles to its vaccines and regenerative medicines efforts.
Corey Goodman, president of the Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center (BBC), is charged with helping the pharma move into the biologics space where it historically has not been much of a player. But the BBC also will pursue academic collaborations and oversee the company’s incubator program.
Thus, in June, Pfizer announced the signing of a master sponsored research agreement with three University of California campuses. Goodman will lead the collaboration for the company.
Under the deal, any researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, the University of California at Santa Cruz or the University of California at Berkeley can propose a research collaboration with Pfizer scientists.
The master agreement template covers all of the legal terms that are often the sticking points of negotiations so that the scientists can get to work together much more quickly.
“Typically, if a company scientist wants to work with a university scientist, then lawyers get involved on both sides and it can take nine months to a year before the two scientists even get to talk to each