Sigma adds big name small molecules to portfolio in Pfizer deal

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pfizer

Drug researchers will have greater access to some top selling molecules, including currently patented compounds atorvastatin, sildenafil and celecoxib, thanks to Sigma Aldrich’s new bioactives deal with US drug major Pfizer.

The St Louis, Missouri-headquartered life sciences supplier said the 100 compounds covered by the initial deal, as well as any added later, will be sold to scientists working in target characterisation, screening and in vivo modelling applications.

In addition to the molecules themselves, Sigma will provide information on the biochemical pathways and associated genes with they interact in an approach the firm said “help[s] advance researchers’ understanding of biological systems.”

According to Sigma the agreement, which makes several of the compounds will be available to researchers "officially" for the first time, is the third such deal it has signed with a major pharmaceutical firm.

David Smoller, president of life sciences research unit, explained that in addition to enriching Sigma’s portfolio, the molecules enables “customers to modulate their protein targets, facilitating further advances in cellular and pathway biology​.”

These thoughts were echoed by Pfizer’s worldwide head of external research solutions, Rick Connell, who said: “Working with Sigma-Aldrich we are able to make authentic Pfizer compounds more readily available to the research community​.”

R&D and revenue

However, while it is undeniable that researchers will appreciate greater access to the compounds, the deal also provides Pfizer with a means of generating more revenue from key products that are set to start losing patent protection over the next few years.

For example, there are benefits for Pfizer in fuelling more R&D on atorvastatin, the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for its top selling drug Lipitor, particularly if patentable breakthroughs are subsequently available for acquisition.

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