Sanford-Burnham joins Pfizer's growing list of translational med partners

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA has joined the growing list of scientific groups to team up with Pfizer on its new effort to spur translational medicine programs for early-stage research. Already working with the University of California, San Diego, Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation will now open up its compound libraries, screening techniques and antibody development technologies to Sanford-Burnham investigators as the pharma giant tries to come up with an effective new approach to early-stage drug R&D.

"The 'open innovation' model of the CTI is a perfect fit for Sanford-Burnham," said Sanford-Burnham CEO John Reed, M.D., Ph.D. "The Institute's culture of collaboration is enhanced by the opportunity to work side by side with Pfizer researchers. Partnering with Pfizer accelerates our ability to translate our research more quickly into the development of biopharmaceutical products."

Pfizer ($PFE) has set up CTI operations in New York, Boston, San Francisco and San Diego. Just a few days ago the pharma company reported that its collaboration with investigators at UCSF had reached the green-light stage as team leaders prepared to select a second round of programs to work on. Sanford-Burnham's investigators are expected to conduct much of their upcoming partnership work on the UCSD campus.

Pfizer, of course, isn't the only big outfit to grow enamored with the prospects of working more closely with academic groups and research institutes. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY) and others have been beavering away at their own initiatives after growing increasingly disillusioned by the woeful productivity of their in-house groups. The new 'open innovation' environment--at least at the earliest stages of drug discovery--is gaining some quick momentum.

- here's the press release