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Strategic Partnerships  

Pfizer has established close to 10 significant collaborations across Australia with multiple investigators and institutions in last four years. The organisation works with collaboration partners in many ways across early science and discovery support:  

  • Centres for Therapeutic Innovation 

  • Emerging Science Fund for Early Breakthrough Science Discovery 

  • Licensing of truly innovative and differentiated technologies and compounds 

  • Pfizer Venture ($600 million worldwide) 

Centres for Theraputic Innovation   

The Centres for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) facilitate authentic collaboration between Pfizer scientists and select academic medical centres across the world and disease foundations. The aim is to translate promising science into clinical candidates. 

Established in 2010, Pfizer’s Centres for Therapeutic Innovation were founded on the notion that our current scientific and global health challenges are too complex for any one player in the healthcare ecosystem to solve alone. We believe that collaboration is critical to success. 

In 2019, Pfizer partnered with UniQuest, The University of Queensland’s commercialisation company, with the aim of creating and developing a potential first-in-class cancer drug. The partnership combines UQ’s research expertise in cancer biology and immunology with Pfizer’s world class capability in drug discovery and development.  

“Industry collaborations such as this help to ensure that promising academic research has the best chance of generating potential life-changing treatments for those who need it most.”  
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj AC  

Pfizer also entered into an oncology-focused research collaboration in 2021 with St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. This early-stage research collaboration aims to identify potential new small molecules that target the DNA damage response, common to most cancers. These molecules could have the potential to provide the basis for future cancer treatments which target a cancer’s vulnerabilities based on its genetics.  

Authentic Collaboration  

Pfizer’s CTI partners are given unprecedented access to our antibody/small molecule library and technologies, and can draw upon Pfizer’s expertise. 

Authentic collaboration includes: 

  • shared decision making

  • shared accountability

  • each project is overseen by a joint steering committee to evaluate the success of the program and monitor progress toward milestones 

  • alignment on incentives

  • joint IP and ownership, broad rights to publication, milestone payments and royalties for successful programs 

Emerging Sciences Fund  

Pfizer’s Emerging Sciences Fund is designed to support early breakthrough science and has supported several collaborations in Australia. A few examples are provided below:  

"Pfizer's Emerging Science Fund is an important resource for fulfilling our purpose to work across the healthcare ecosystem to translate science and technologies into medicines and vaccines that improve patients' lives"   

Barbara Sosnowski, Vice President and Global Head Emerging Science & Innovation Leads at Pfizer. 

Pfizer launched a collaboration with The University of Melbourne in 2019 to identify and validate new targets for cancer therapies. Through this partnership, Pfizer is supporting immunity mechanisms research out of the University’s Department of Immunology & Microbiology based at the Doherty Institute.  

In 2021, Pfizer partnered with Peter MacCallum Cancer on the development of a new "tumour barcoding" technique known as SPLINTR, which can identify and track patterns of gene expression over time. Researchers are using SPLINTR to analyse tumour samples of specific lung cancers both before and after patients are treated with targeted drugs. The research aims to uncover the gene expression underpinning specific lung cancers, and drivers of treatment resistance. 

Licensing of emerging science and compounds 

In 2019, Pfizer announced a research collaboration and a license agreement with Melbourne-headquartered Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx). Through this collaboration, Pfizer gained the rights to two novel pre-clinical cancer programs targeting proteins that are known to play an important role in driving the growth of both solid and blood cancers.  

CTx received $20M AUD upfront payment and up to a potential $648M AUD in development and sales milestones, as well as royalties on product sales if the program reaches commercialisation through this agreement. This investment supports the biomedical sector in Australia as it can be ploughed into new drug discovery programs, providing opportunities for local teams and potentially leading to the delivery of new treatments for patients.  

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