Vancouver, BC – Pfizer Canada says it is committing $1 million to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to create the Pfizer-CDRD Innovation Fund. This innovation fund aims to fast-track the commercialization of some of BC’s most promising academic research projects into high-value medicines that form the basis for new companies or licensing opportunities.
The fund is a public-private partnership, and Pfizer says it is the first international research-based pharmaceutical company to establish an innovation fund at the CDRD to advance commercialization opportunities. Research grants will be allocated to unique scientific opportunities with promising commercialization potential in any of the following areas: cancer research, central nervous system related diseases, inflammation and pain, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, as well areas of excellence supported by the CDRD (such as nanomedicines, imaging, biomarkers, therapeutic peptides).
“Pfizer Canada believes in the strong research capacity in British Columbia and hopes that this innovation fund will further position the province as an international hub for research and development in the life sciences, ” says Paul Levesque, president and CEO of Pfizer Canada. “Pfizer has a tremendous interest in biotechnology, and our partnership with the CDRD could contribute to supplementing the discovery pipeline, and delivering new therapies to the market.”
An international calibre initiative led by founders with extensive academic research backgrounds and success in establishing key BC life sciences companies with strong commercial track-records, the CDRD comprises a network of over 250 researchers working in eight BC research institutions across the province. In 2007, it secured over $50M in federal and provincial funding to kick-start operation and build facilities and labs with state-of-the-art equipment. Its facilities, initially based at the University of British Columbia, will serve researchers and trainees at universities and affiliated institutions across the province. It has also implemented a new research and training model that will broaden the BC pool of life sciences entrepreneurs working on drug discovery and development.
“This research investment from international industry giant Pfizer reinforces the shared vision between government, industry and academia for our groundbreaking initiative. It also further validates CDRD’s model to bridge the commercialization gap by facilitating and driving drug development projects and commercializing the technology either by creating companies or licensing to an existing company,” said Natalie Dakers, CDRD’s CEO.