Consortium uses 'virtual patients' to find drugs

Pfizer is providing $14.4 million to fund a research consortium involving four universities and Entelos, a company that does computer modeling for drug research work, in a drive to create a new class of diabetes drugs. Those computer models can be used to create a "virtual patient" to test new therapies. The consortium has been dubbed the Insulin Resistance Pathways Project, linking researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Caltech, MIT and the University of Massachusetts with scientists at Entelos and several research groups from within Pfizer.

The consortium has three primary goals: collect targeted data about insulin pathways within human cell types; use mathematical models to better understand the biological mechanisms of these pathways; and translate findings to predict human clinical response using Entelos' computer model.

"Scientists across Pfizer, including researchers from Pfizer's Groton, Connecticut Research and Development site as well as from its Research Technology Center in Cambridge, MA, will work directly with the external research teams to progress the research," said Preston Hensley, Ph.D., Senior Director, Worldwide Exploratory Science and Technology at Pfizer. "In addition, we will protect our academic colleague's fundamental interests by allowing them to publish and/or patent any discoveries made in the areas of basic biology."

- check out the press release