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Pfizer Selects Sanford-Burnham for Diabetes Drug Discovery

By Zachary Brennan , 20-Aug-2013
Last updated on 20-Aug-2013 at 10:01 GMT2013-08-20T10:01:08Z

Pfizer Selects Sanford-Burnham for Diabetes Drug Discovery

Over the next three years Pfizer will work with the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute to discover therapeutic targets to prevent and treat complications related to obesity and diabetes.

The partnership will use Florida-based Sanford-Bernham’s screening tools, including systems-biology approaches and technologies to discover therapeutic strategies for reducing insulin resistance in obesity and diabetes.

Investigators will utilize the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics to screen for new relevant targets using investigational compounds from Pfizer as well as evaluate compounds previously identified from the NIH chemical library. Once the screening identifies compounds of interest, Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer scientists will collaborate to characterize and further study the compounds to understand their mechanism of action.

Deborah Robison, a spokeswoman for Sanford-Burnham told, “Our collaboration gives Pfizer access to many capabilities and technologies we have developed at Sanford-Burnham. This includes high-throughput screening capabilities in the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics as well as cardiovascular and metabolic phenotyping capabilities to characterize our animal models.”


This is Sanford-Burnham’s second partnership with a large pharmaceutical company this year. In February, the research institute announced it would also work with Takeda to develop new therapeutic approaches to diabetes.

For Pfizer, this partnership comes as the company cut internal research capacity when it closed an R&D unit in San Diego in February. The closure of research operations in the UK and Singapore may further indicate the company’s desire to outsource more of its research.

Tim Rolph, VP and head of cardiovascular and metabolic disease research at Pfizer, said, “Pfizer’s collaboration with Sanford-Burnham to use their cutting-edge screen designs is an example of our strategy to work with academic innovators to discover novel therapeutics for prevention and treatment of diabetes.” 

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