Underlining the pharmaceutical industry’s need to look for new sources of innovation and different models of drug discovery and development, Pfizer and King’s College London in the UK have announced an ‘open innovation’ partnership for pain research that will embed Pfizer scientists at the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases.

The small team of Pfizer scientists based at the Wolfson Centre, part of King’s College’s Guy’s Hospital campus in central London, will conduct research into pain biology. They will be part of a larger team at the College, to include academics such as Professors Steve McMahon and Stuart Bevan, that will work on developing a better understanding of pain mechanisms and pathways.

The new partnership and the integration of scientific teams will “potentially lead to synergies in research strategies that deliver new ideas and innovations for healthcare and patient welfare”, said King’s College, adding that the arrangement allowed the college to “pursue its commitment to translational research with partners of excellence”.

In June 2009 a new Faculty of Translational Medicine was established as a collaborative initiative between King’s College London and the comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.

The Pfizer researchers will have joint academic appointments within King’s College London and will work closely with the established teams at the Wolfson Centre, in what Professor Pat Doherty, director of the Centre, described as “a truly collaborative effort aimed at understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying chronic and neuropathic pain”.