Pfizer has become the first biopharma to link arms with non-profit group the Jeffrey Modell Foundation under an agreement to carry out research into immunological diseases.

The drug giant’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation will work with the JMF to identify and co-fund translational research projects with leading academic medical centres within its network, the ultimate goal being to validate potential drug candidates that can be moved into more advanced testing.

Pfizer’s CTI was established to foster academic-foundation-industry collaborations and bridge the gap between early scientific discovery and its translation into potential new medicines. CTI’s local centres in biomedical research hubs allows Pfizer and academic teams to work side-by-side, coupling researchers’ expertise in disease biology, targets, and patient populations with the pharma’s development expertise and resources. 

“Accelerating drug discovery is the goal of every CTI collaboration and this agreement aligns with two of our core therapeutic areas, immunology and rare diseases, where we have leading expertise and a long history in research and bringing treatments to patients,” noted Anthony Coyle, CTI’s chief scientific officer. 

The deal with JMF offers the opportunity to leverage both party’s expertise “to help enhance our understanding of the complex immune system, which plays a key role in many rare diseases,” he added.

Further terms of the alliance remain under wraps.