Research & Development

Collaborating on Research for Diseases of the Developing World

Many pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, are committed to biomedical research to improve health in both developed regions and in the developing world. Our efforts include research on medicines across multiple therapeutic areas, with academia, global health organizations, public-private partnerships and companies that share our commitment.

Pfizer supports research programs on public health issues associated with the developing world including research on tuberculosis, malaria and river blindness, and through our joint venture with GSK, ViiV Healthcare, on HIV/AIDS.

Working with the World Health Organization's Special Programme for Research in Tropical Diseases, we provided broad access to Pfizer's library of medicinal compounds to scientists from other organizations, and also trained scientists from developing countries to investigate new approaches to treating or preventing diseases. To expand screening efforts for tropical diseases such as African sleeping sickness and Chagas disease, Pfizer is collaborating with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative while pursuing a molecular approach for them with several UK universities.

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Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a major global health problem, with an estimated 8.8 million new cases and 1.6 million deaths annually. Efforts to control and eradicate TB have been stymied by the spread of HIV/AIDS in TB-endemic regions, and by the global emergence of strains resistant to current TB drugs. To address this pressing medical need, we have been working with external partners to pursue new treatments.

We are currently evaluating a new compound, PNU-100480, which has successfully completed Phase 1 studies and will be starting first-in-patient studies this year. PNU-100480 is an oxazolidinone, a class of antimicrobials that inhibits bacterial protein synthesis. PNU-100480 is being developed to treat TB, including multidrug-resistant TB—a form of the disease that is emerging as a serious public health threat, and is especially lethal and difficult to treat.

Given the global nature of TB and the likelihood that a combination drug regimen will work most effectively against the highly complex disease organism, engagement with external partners is vital. Pfizer is actively participating in the Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens initiative, an innovative collaboration sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that brings together public and private sectors to accelerate the development of new, safe and shorter duration TB drug regimens. We are also collaborating with various organizations to tackle two other challenges associated with TB: long duration of TB drug regimens, and negative interactions with HIV treatments.

TB is now the leading cause of death among patients with HIV/AIDS, accounting for roughly half a million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. Standard TB treatments such as rifampin can interact with the antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV. Rifabutin, which is produced by Pfizer, does not interact with this class of medicines. As part of the our commitment to increasing access to life-saving medicines, Pfizer and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative are partnering to make rifabutin available to low-income populations in emerging markets.


Malaria afflicts up to 250 million people annually, killing close to 1 million people a year, mostly children in Africa.

We are providing the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) access to Pfizer's library of chemical entities to screen approximately 200,000 compounds that have the potential to be developed into new treatments against P. falciparum, the parasite that causes acute malaria, including multidrug-resistant strains. In collaboration with MMV and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, we are in Phase III development of the combination of azithromycin and chloroquine as a potential intermittent preventive treatment of malaria for pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria in pregnancy is an area of high unmet medical need and is one of the most common preventable causes of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in malaria endemic countries; approximately 30 million pregnant women are at risk for malaria in sub-Saharan Africa each year.


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ViiV Healthcare, a company launched in 2009 by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), focuses solely on research, development and commercialization of HIV treatments.

ViiV Healthcare integrates the pipeline and marketed HIV portfolios of both Pfizer and GSK, and is continuing the commitments of both companies to improve access to HIV medicines for everyone. Not-for-profit pricing for HIV medicines is being provided to those most in need—a total of 69 countries. To make antiretrovirals at lower cost for people in the Least Developed Countries, Low Income Countries and sub-Saharan Africa, ViiV has granted 11 voluntary licenses to Indian and African generic companies. ViiV Healthcare is also supporting research and development activities specifically to address HIV treatment challenges including treatments and formulations for children living with HIV, and managing a new fund to help prevent mother-to-child transmission.