Pfizer is linking arms with non-profit group The California Institute for Biomedical Research in a collaboration focused on the development of novel antibody-based therapeutics for heart failure. 

The Institute (Calibr) owns antibody fusion technology that offers a proprietary, modular approach to developing long-acting biotherapeutics based on peptide and protein agonists and antagonists.

Under the deal, Calibr will carry out research up to Phase I studies on certain antibody-based therapeutic agents, including evaluation of their safety and pharmacodynamics in healthy volunteers and patients with heart failure. After Phase I, Pfizer can snap up an exclusive license to such products, taking on responsibility for further development and commercialisation.

On the financial side, Calibr will bank an undisclosed upfront payment and is also eligible for additional pre-exercise milestone payments leading up to the completion of Phase I studies. If Pfizer takes up a license, then the group will get further fees and milestones, as well as tiered royalties on any net sales.

"Heart disease continues to present a major medical burden on our society as the development of new therapies has been challenging," said Rod MacKenzie, PharmaTherapeutics R&D at Pfizer, noting that the partners’ “combined expertise and experience can help us get closer to the goal of applying recent advances in biology toward reducing the suffering of patients with heart failure”.

The move comes just days after Pfizer announced that it is streaming $46 million into four early-stage research copmanies under plans to expand its R&D investment strategy.