WuXi PharmaTech, the Shanghai-based contract research organisation (CRO) whose stellar progress has faltered somewhat of late with a series of disappointments such as its abandoned preclinical joint venture with Covance, has again strengthened its collaborative research network, signing a new, three-year in vitro ADME agreement with Pfizer.

Under the agreement, which comes hard on the heels of an expanded pharmaceutical R&D services collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, WuXi will partner with Pfizer to establish ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) assays for in vitro screening of compounds that WuXi synthesises for Pfizer. The information obtained will help the US company’s researchers to improve the pharmacokinetic properties of their compounds.

The ADME agreement “further strengthens our productive relationship with Pfizer, one of our largest customers for many years”, noted Dr Ge Li, chairman and chief executive officer of WuXi PharmaTech. Collaborations between the two companies have ranged from synthetic chemistry to parallel medicinal chemistry, ADME and bioanalytical services.

Dr Steve Yang, vice president and head of Asia R&D at Pfizer, said a “high quality and flexible Asia R&D partnership network is critical to Pfizer’s emerging market and Asia strategy”.