Pfizer has entered into a development partnership with Indian contract research organisation TCG Lifesciences.

The agreement is an expansion of a deal signed in 2005 which TCG says focused “primarily in the field of discovery chemistry”. The Bangalore-based group will now also be providing “integrated research services” designed to “enhance Pfizer's drug discovery pipeline and shorten development timelines”.

TCG’s managing director Swapan Bhattacharya said the deal is “of great importance for us as it signifies our competences in providing innovation based integrated research services from early-stage discovery to kilo scale production of first in man material". According to the Economic Times, he told reporters that the agreement will span more than two years “where we may receive milestone payments throughout the cycle”.

Mr Bhattacharya went on to say the new molecules will target unmet diseases and have “huge market potential for Pfizer”. No specific financial details were disclosed.

Rick Connell, head of external research solutions at Pfizer, said “a high-quality and flexible working model is critical” to the firm’s R&D. He added that through strong relationships with leading Asian CROs, such as TCG, “we are able to tap into their scientific talent pool to further the success of our research programmes”.

Pfizer has been increasing its presence in India over the last year and in May 2009 it signed deals with Aurobindo Pharma and Claris Lifesciences to boost its presence in generics as well as in emerging markets. In October, it was reported that the New York-based giant was in talks with a number of Indian drugmakers with a view to establishing alliances.