Clearly demonstrating its hunger for biotech again, Pfizer has agreed to shell out $250 million for the worldwide rights to private German company Scil Technology’s growth factor CD-RAP.

CD-RAP is a polypeptide that plays an important part in the formation of cartilage during embryonic development and in the matrix stimulation of chondrocytes in adult animals, according to Scil. Furthermore, the firm says the agent has demonstrated an ability to stimulate cartilage synthesis in in-vitro studies, making it “a highly promising candidate for cartilage regeneration in indications such as chondral defects and osteoarthritis”.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, except that Scil stands to receive upfront and milestone payments of around $250 million, in addition to royalties on sales of any products that make it to market.

“This partnership reflects Pfizer's ongoing commitment to pursue the best science anywhere on the globe and secure novel technologies and products that will complement our existing research programs,” said Dr Edmund Harrigan, senior vice president worldwide business development, explaining the strategy behind the deal.

Earlier this year, Pfizer confirmed its plans to link up with Taisho Pharmaceutical Co to develop and commercialize TS-032, a preclinical schizophrenia drug candidate discovered by the Japanese drugmaker, shortly after buying up privately-owned biotherapeutics group CovX for an undisclosed amount.