About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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August 18, 2011

Is Anyone Doing the Pfizer Screening Deal?

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Posted by Derek

A couple of years ago, I wrote here about an initiative from Pfizer. They were proposing letting other (smaller) companies screen their compound collection, with rights to be worked out if something interesting turned up.

The thing is, I haven't heard about anyone taking them up on it. Does anyone know if this ever got off the ground, or did it get lost in the trackless Pfizer territories somewhere? It sounded like a reasonable idea in some ways, and I'm curious if it ever went anywhere. . .

Comments (13) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Drug Assays


1. IchDich on August 18, 2011 11:01 AM writes...

B. Munos was supporting the Lilly website on joint research. Seems like somewhere in industry this concept is alive.

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2. Anonymous on August 18, 2011 12:18 PM writes...

Oh? Does Pfizer know where everything is located now and have they removed dupes and cleaned up their registration system? Does Pfizer even know what it has?

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3. ex-pfizer and loving it on August 18, 2011 12:34 PM writes...

When I was a Pfizer employee I worked on this so I know first-hand of at least one start-up company that got useful results. Screening was done on a subset in-house at Pfizer using an assay developed by the start-up company.

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4. Dr. Manhattan on August 18, 2011 12:36 PM writes...

Probably still caught up in the IP issues you mentioned in your original post. Pfizer probably wants the small company to screen & find something interesting, but they will largely help themselves to the product. Don't like it? We'll buy you and fire you! Snakebite.

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5. smurf on August 18, 2011 2:41 PM writes...

I am aware of at least one active screen; otherwise Dr. Manhattan is spot on.

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6. smurf on August 18, 2011 2:45 PM writes...

Correction: Dr. Manhattan‘s first sentence is spot on – the rest is simply not true.

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7. startup on August 18, 2011 3:45 PM writes...


Which part? "We'll buy you and fire you"?

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8. jackrabbit on August 18, 2011 4:33 PM writes...

Just read an article posted on the NYTimes website...the article was interesting but the real fireworks were contained in the comments section...seems most commenters have a fairly low opinion of the pharmaceutical industry.

Drug Is Found to Extend Lives of Obese Mice
Published: August 18, 2011

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9. Merc on August 18, 2011 6:34 PM writes...

I interned for a small biotech/pharma company called Avalon Pharmaceuticals which did screenings for Pfizer. This was a couple years ago, though, and Avalon has since been bought out.

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10. anchor on August 19, 2011 7:01 AM writes...

#8, May be that is the modus operandi, these days that qualifies as making progress and decision. So, if the outsourced research pays off, buy the company lock, stock and barrel. You own the IP and fire the rest.

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11. Pfired Before on August 19, 2011 10:46 AM writes...

Is SMURF a current member of Pfizer's management. The reason I wonder is that he has two contradictory statements made back-to-back (#'s 5 & 6). Reminiscent of the contradictory Pfizer research mottoes of 1) "Deep Knowledge of Biological Targets" and 2) "Just Enough, Just In Time" This latter motto meant to do only what was necessary to progress drugs, with the meaning of the first is obvious. And yes, these two contradictory mottoes were Research's marching orders, at least until 2009.

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12. Anonymous on August 20, 2011 2:40 PM writes...

The Pfizer 'system' got in the way with eveyone having to sign off on every deal and claiming IP rights (and the first born child) of the companies - so no, it disappeared.

Also, they might not have much of a file left soon. When they did the recent file enrichment the cost was paid for from a central account (called Enron). When the new CFO found out he dumped the whole cost on the chemistry budget ($80MM) which is why so many chemists are being whacked at the moment to make the numbers work. They are also having to physically burn 1MM+ cmpds so they can wright them off - only in Pfizer. Makes you cry....

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13. jason @ cinnamon agency on August 22, 2011 5:39 PM writes...

Very interesting that Pfizer's offer wasn't taken up, seemingly by due to distrust of the pharmaceutical agency.

Mind you, having to sign away any discoveries isn't the best bait!

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