Ex-Pfizer scientists, university partner on drug program

Wayne State University has teamed up with an innovative company created by a group of former Pfizer scientists to advance a new therapy discovered in one of its academic labs into clinical development.

The Michigan Technology and Research Institute, founded in Ann Arbor by seven Pfizer scientists after the pharma giant left town two years ago, will undertake early-stage research with the help of a $118,000 grant from the state. At the same time the institute will develop a business plan and reach out to venture capital groups who may be interested in backing a new biotech company.

The institute's scientists have been consulting with Michigan State and the University of Michigan. The Wayne State project involves an experimental therapy discovered by Aloke Dutta, who teaches pharmaceutical sciences. The drug targets dopamine, a new approach to treating depression. And the same therapy could be effective in Parkinson's disease, pain and substance abuse, according to the Detroit News.

"It holds a great deal of promise," said David G. Pegg. "Depression is an area of medicine where there is a need for new drugs that are safer and more effective."

- read the story from the Detroit News