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UK Government's Technology Strategy Board to Invest in Cyclofluidic R&D
Pfizer Ltd (NYSE:PFE) (LSE:PFZ) and UCB today announced the formation of Cyclofluidic, a breakthrough technology company established with the aim of significantly accelerating the drug discovery process by allowing researchers to test a greater range of potential new medicines in a shorter time. The UK Government's Technology Strategy Board has helped facilitate this innovative arrangement between Pfizer and UCB and will continue to support Cyclofluidic by co-funding its R&D.
The aim of Cyclofluidic is to develop technologies that automate and integrate processes known as flow chemistry and flow biology to help pharmaceutical companies shorten timelines within the drug development process.
Explaining the background to the Technology Strategy Board's support, its Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "Our role is to stimulate the development and deployment of technologies which, as well as benefiting society, also provide global business opportunities for the UK. Cyclofluidic is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to develop world-leading technologies which have the potential to bring enormous benefit to patients in the UK and around the world. We are delighted to offer our support and investment."
"Cyclofluidic's entry into the rapidly evolving microfluidic technology area has the potential to radically transform the medicinal chemistry and biology interface." Says Dr Neil Weir, Senior Vice President Research at UCB. "It's an exciting opportunity for UCB and Pfizer to collaborate and offers real potential for improved productivity, underlining our commitment to innovation for patients."
Dr Annette Doherty, Vice President and Research Head at Pfizer's European R&D Headquarters said "We are extremely pleased to collaborate with UCB and the Technology Strategy Board to help improve efficiency in the drug development process. We are excited by the potential of this new partnership to help us identify the most effective medicines for later stages of development and - ultimately - create new and improved therapies for patients."
Peter Luke, Senior Director, Worldwide Business Development at Pfizer said, "This is a great example of how public-private partnerships can provide innovative technologies to speed medicines to market. We are impressed by the way the Technology Strategy Board has initiated a novel and creative deal structure."
Cyclofluidic will be jointly owned by Pfizer and UCB, with each company having both a seat and scientific observer rights on the board.
Currently, it takes between 12-15 years and a cost of up to £500 million to develop a new medicine. One of the most time-intensive and skilful parts of pharmaceutical research is the screening of potential medicines against therapeutic targets.
Cyclofluidic will develop a microfluidic closed loop lead optimisation platform which will enable researchers to access state of the art expertise in flow chemistry, flow screening and microfluidic engineering. This will be addressed through extensive collaboration with key academics and component manufacturers
Cyclofluidic will also provide training for both flow chemistry and biology scientists at its facility, to be located in the South of England.
Pharmaceuticals in the UK
The UK has been a very successful location for the global pharmaceutical industry. It employs 73,000 people directly and generates another 250,000 jobs in related industries. The UK conducts more pharmaceutical R&D than any other EU country, and investment from pharmaceutical companies is critical to the UK's research base - around 25% of all industrial R&D comes from the sector.
About Pfizer Ltd
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company. Pfizer is taking new approaches to advancing better health as it discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. Pfizer also partners with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, more than 84,000 colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb-group.com) is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialisation of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing around 12 000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 3.6 billion euro in 2007. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
About Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). For further information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
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