Pfizer and NWU drug research

Pertunia Thulo -- Mon, 07/07/2014 - 00:00

NWU and Pfizer takes drug research to new heights

Pfizer and the North-West University (NWU) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the basis for potential scientific and technical collaborations. This agreement highlights partners’ commitment to fostering innovative research in South Africa and beyond.

The partnership may include the potential use of Pfizer’s genetically modified animal models, for the evaluation of the safety and efficacy profile of therapeutic molecules in oncology, inflammation, immunology, central nervous system and cardiovascular system disorders. The partnership is subject to further discussion and the final agreement of terms and conditions.

“Innovative collaborations that advance science and patient health are one of the key components of Pfizer’s overall Research and Development strategy. We hope that this partnership with NWU will, in time, produce scientific and medical advances for patients in South Africa and beyond. We salute the South African government for fostering an environment that encourages and rewards investments in innovative research,” said Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., President of Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer. 

Pfizer’s R&D site in La Jolla served as backdrop for the signing of the MOU. The 25-acre campus is one of three Pfizer R&D sites in California. The site’s scientific focus is primarily oncology and vaccines. The signatories of the MOU were Dr. Gabriela G. Cezar, Pfizer’s Head of External R&D Innovation for Brazil, Latin America and South Africa, and Professor Anne Grobler, Director of NWU’s Pre-Clinical Drug Development Platform (PCDDP), where the joint research project will be conducted.

  “We are grateful for Pfizer’s investment and willingness to partner with NWU in pre-clinical research, a field that is a high priority in drug development. We are particularly enthusiastic about the milestones we may be able to reach in the areas of infectious and chronic diseases that are so relevant to our South African society,” said Professor Grobler.

With a permanent staff of 14 trained scientists, the PCDDP is a state-of-the-art, pre-clinical facility that functions as a national study platform and supplies the infrastructure for qualitative and quantitative pre-clinical studies for researchers across South Africa. The pre-clinical work conducted at the PCDDP and its safety models, in combination with its bio-analytical expertise, enables a faster drug discovery process and an increase in the quality of compounds taken further in the research and development process. The PCDDP was initiated and is largely financed by the South African government’s Department of Science and Technology.

 “This agreement is a testament to the innovative spirit that characterizes both NWU and Pfizer. The development of the South African pharmaceutical sector is a key component of our national Bioeconomy Strategy, so we are delighted to witness the very first step in this new partnership,” said Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director General of the Department of Science and Technology.

Pfizer believes that deeper and stronger collaborations are key to expediting the translation of science into breakthrough therapies for patients. The company’s Worldwide Research and Development organization is committed to advancing new models of partnership with creativity, flexibility and openness to deliver innovation quickly, regardless of where the talent and resources live. This includes working with patient foundations, patients, government, payers, healthcare professionals, academia and other leading biopharma companies.

About Pfizer Inc.

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more, please visit us at www.pfizer.com.

About North-West University (NWU) 

The North-West University (NWU) is one of 11 conventional universities in South Africa. Recognized as a leading and sustainable teaching-learning and research university, NWU harnesses diversity and pursues innovation to make a meaningful difference in South Africa and the world. The university is multi-campus with a footprint across two provinces. The NWU’s tagline - “It all starts here” - hints at the university’s reputation as one of the best-managed and most innovative universities in South Africa, where multiculturalism, multilingualism and multinationalism is both celebrated and encouraged.