We want to be first, or in the front wave, in introducing new classes of therapies. If we are entering an established therapeutic class, we want to offer a best-in-class medicine or vaccine that may change the course of a disease.
PharmaTherapeutics R&D focuses on small-molecule chemicals to generate new candidates for clinical trials. Research teams are built around specific disease areas, including oncology, psychoses, pain and cardiovascular/metabolic/endocrine disorders. Scientists focusing on a specific disease area are located together to improve the chances for serendipitous discovery. PharmaTherapeutics R&D is also organized to leverage Pfizer's substantial investments in capabilities such as medicinal chemistry, high-throughput screening and pharmacokinetics. We also have a compound library that ranges into the billions of chemical entities, many of them already tested for safety in humans.
Our BioTherapeutics R&D organization expanded greatly with the acquisition of Wyeth. BioTherapeutics R&D includes centers devoted to vaccines research; research into inflammation, immunology, biocorrection and tissue repair; and relationships with biotechnology organizations outside Pfizer. In addition, BioTherapeutics R&D includes groups such as CovX and Rinat—highly specialized biotech companies that Pfizer has acquired and essentially left as focused units, while supporting them with the benefits of our scale and depth of scientific expertise.
In addition, BioTherapeutics R&D and PharmaTherapeutics R&D don't try to "go it alone." Both are partners with some of the world's best scientific teams in other companies, in academia and in government organizations. These partnerships include involvement in the fast expanding scientific community in Asia, where Pfizer both executes its own research and collaborates with others.
Overall, Pfizer's lead in enabling technologies, our culture of innovating across boundaries, and our ability to back idea-rich scientists with global resources can help open the door to a new era of biomedical research achievement.
The cost of research and development to get a new drug into the hands of doctors and patients now exceeds $1 billion. Only about 1 in 100 ideas that begin in the lab ever make it into human trials, and of those, fewer than 1 in 10 goes on to become a new medicine.
The overwhelming majority of compounds tested in the laboratory fail to move beyond the testing stage and only a relative handful move on to more advanced tests for efficacy and safety. Among those that move on, many fail at the clinical trial stage. Pfizer is among the leaders in exploring, and, where appropriate, using quantitative approaches to improve R&D productivity by picking possible "winners" more quickly. In concert with regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere, Pfizer is advancing adaptive clinical trial approaches that may, over time, change the ways clinical trials are executed, and gain more information from the use of fewer human volunteers. Pfizer is even exploring programs that may harness massive computing power to create "virtual" clinical trials, giving indications early on how best to move ahead using human volunteers.
In 2006 Pfizer researchers co-published a paper in Nature telling the remarkable story of some children from Pakistan who were completely insensitive to pain. The cause was found to lie in a defective gene, SCN9A, which codes for a sodium channel. Today the race is on to find a molecule to block this sodium channel to treat pain. Inventing drugs for this target has proved a great challenge, but at our pain research labs in the U. K. we are completing preclinical work and expect to advance to our first clinical experiments.
Martin Mackay is the President of Pfizer PharmaTherapeutics Research and Development which, along with Pfizer's BioTherapeutics Research and Development, discovers and executes initial development on new prescription medicines and vaccines.Go to the Site
The number of new drug and biologic applications submitted to the FDA has declined significantly. In contrast, the costs of development have soared. In this paper, the FDA analyzes the problem and suggests new means, including statistical modeling, of accelerating drug development.Go to the Site
This article in Nature helped launch a global effort to find the natural mechanism that keeps these Pakistani children from feeling pain.Go to the Site