Pain & Sensory Disorders


Pfizer is a global leader in pain medicines with products in each of the major classes: Celebrex® (celecoxib; COX2 inhibitor), Lyrica® (pregabalin) and Neurontin® (gabapentin; α2δ ligands), Avinza® (morphine sulphate) and Oxecta® (oxycodone immediate release, opioid agonists). Additionally the novel NGF inhibitor antibody, tanezumab, is in late stage clinical trials in high medical need patients. Despite these medicines, large numbers of pain sufferers still experience inadequate relief. We are currently working to develop novel therapeutics, improved formulations and combinations of existing therapies. Pain is a distinct group of conditions with unique underlying biology, affecting patients in different ways depending on co-morbidities, background genetics and psychology. Pfizer is interested in partnering with innovative collaborators to develop novel and differentiated medicines to address the needs of patients suffering from pain. Our research unit, called Neusentis, is based in Cambridge UK and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. The unit has a particular emphasis on ion channel modulators that can address patient needs in pain and sensory disorders. Additionally, regenerative medicine research is carried out at the Cambridge site, both to support pain projects and also to pursue cell therapies for other indications.

WRD is interested in establishing alliances to develop therapeutics, expand disease biology understanding, and identify biomarkers that impact:

  • Chronic pain
    • Neuropathic pain
    • Nociceptive pain
  • Acute pain
    • Perisurgical pain management, prevention of chronic post-operative pain
  • Epigenetic pathways leading to pre-disposition to the development of chronic pain phenotypes
    • Sensory disorders
      • Disorders involving abnormal sensations of clinical relevance (e.g., visual, auditory, vestibular, somatosensory systems)
      • Therapeutic opportunities for sensory disorders should preferably have the potential to be used to treat any of the pain populations listed above

    Specific areas of interest include:

    • Ion channels, notably targets where there is strong human genetic evidence for a role in pain or in mechanistically-related sensory disorders (e.g., epilepsy, channelopathies)
    • Novel targets on pathways with known relevance to pain, e.g., neurotrophins
    • Highly differentiated opiates with fewer side effects, including novel abuse-resistant formulations and approaches to address over-consumption
    • Nociceptor-specific drug delivery
    • Technology platforms and products to help understand and segment patients in pain and develop Precision Medicine R&D strategies for our innovative portfolio
    • Novel approaches to demonstrate cross-species target engagement of an ion channel-excluding fMRI, microneuography, threshold tracking, capsaicin/cinnmaldehyde flare, UVB etc.

    Not actively seeking partnering opportunities in:

    • General anesthetics
    • NGF antibodies


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