Increasingly pharmaceutical firms are employing biotechnology to try and ensure that only the most promising pipeline candidates are selected for clinical development. Additionally, advances in molecular modification and drug targeting technology are becoming an integral part of the selection process as well as a means of conducting drug optimisation at the earliest possible stage of the product development cycle. The climate of fevered competition and ever-narrowing margins sweeping the pharmaceutical industry, as evidence by the recent cutbacks at some of the world's largest drug companies, coupled with the demand for novel development strategies, means that increasingly, smaller biotechnology firms with innovative technologies are becoming attractive partners for companies wishing to stay ahead of the competition. One recently announced deal falling firmly within this category is PolyTherics' agreement with Bermuda-based Celtic Pharma Development Services. London-headquartered PolyTherics has established a partnership with CPDS, a subsidiary of biopharma focused equity investment group Celtic Pharma, under which it will employ its novel technology platform to hone candidates in the latter's product pipeline. One of the key focuses of the accord will be the application of PolyTherics' drug modification technology, particularly its expertise in the field of polymer-based manipulation, to Celtic's pipeline candidates in an effort to improve their therapeutic performance and development potential. PolyTherics, which was originally set up in partnership by the Imperial College London and the London School of Pharmacy, has similar deals with pharmaceuticals firm's worldwide which, as CEO Dr Keith Powell explained, are key to its business strategy. Dr Powell commented that: "the opportunity to collaborate with a high calibre, product-focused company such as Celtic Pharma is a significant milestone in the development of PolyTherics, and we are delighted to be working with Celtic Pharma on several of the products in their portfolio. We believe that our work together will show that PolyTherics' proprietary technologies can be used to improve pharmaceutical products to increase their commercial value." At present Celtic Pharma has nine candidate drugs in clinical development, including: Xerecept for brain oedema associated with cerebral tumors; TDT-070 for the topical treatment of thermal injuries; TDT-044 for skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema; and the immunotherapy product TA-CD for cocaine addiction. The firm also employs its specialist Transfersome technology to improve the delivery of developmental candidates.