Chinese contract research organisation WuXi PharmaTech has won a three-year contract with Pfizer to provide in vitro testing services.
The agreement calls for WuXi to carry out ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) testing for Pfizer. The evaluation of ADME properties is a key step in the drug discovery and development process, and under the new collaboration agreement WuXi will create ADME assays for in vitro screening of compounds it synthesises for Pfizer.
The overall aim is to help Pfizer scientists improve the pharmacokinetic properties of compounds entering the development process.
The new agreement comes just a few weeks after the Chinese firm inked a wide-ranging collaboration with Johnson & Johnson across a broad range of discovery chemistry and biology services. Signing another top 10 pharma company is a boost for WuXi which missed its third quarter sales targets after delays and cancelled contracts from “small biotech customers.”
The new deal is also an affirmation of WuXi’s potential in the wake of the collapse of its deal with Covance, which would have seen the two firms establish a Chinese contract research joint venture.
WuXi will evaluate ADME properties for Pfizer compounds with the goal of providing this key information to assist Pfizer scientists to improve the pharmacokinetic properties of their compounds.
"This new agreement further strengthens our already productive relationship with Pfizer, one of our largest customers for many years," commented Dr Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi PharmaTech. WuXi is now working with Pfizer on a broad range of services including synthetic chemistry, parallel medicinal chemistry (PMC), ADME and bioanalytical services.
Pfizer is in the midst of a major shake-up of its R&D processes that will see it focus on fewer therapeutic categories and also increase its use of outsourcing and offshoring.
Tapping the $47bn emerging Asian pharmaceutical market is a key objective for the company. Earlier this year it said it planned to take “greater advantage of global manufacturing and R&D in Asia" as part of a plan to reinforce its market leadership and increase its market share in the Asia region by 2 per cent to reach 6 per cent by 2012.
"A high quality and flexible Asia R&D partnership network is critical to Pfizer's emerging market and Asia strategy,” said Dr. Steve Yang, vice president and head of Asia R&D at Pfizer.
“We want to build strong relationship with leading CROs such as WuXi PharmaTech to tap into the scientific talents and R&D capabilities in Asia," he added.