Life Sciences Innovation Fund: Pfizer Canada invests in British Columbia research to accelerate the drug development process

    Centre for Drug Research and Development attracts a significant partner
    to bring B.C. researchers' discoveries from lab bench to commercial

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Pfizer Canada is committing $1 million
to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to create the
"Pfizer-CDRD Innovation Fund". This innovation fund aims to fast-track the
commercialization of some of B.C.'s most promising academic research projects
into high-value medicines that form the basis for new companies or licensing
    The "Pfizer-CDRD Innovation Fund" is a unique public-private partnership,
and Pfizer is the first international research-based pharmaceutical company to
establish an innovation fund at the CDRD to advance commercialization
opportunities. Research grants will be allocated to unique scientific
opportunities with promising commercialization potential in any of the
following areas: cancer research, central nervous system related diseases,
inflammation and pain, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, as well areas of
excellence supported by the CDRD (such as nanomedicines, imaging, biomarkers,
therapeutic peptides).
    "Pfizer Canada believes in the strong research capacity in British
Columbia and hopes that this innovation fund will further position the
province as an international hub for research and development in the life
sciences, " says Paul Lévesque, President and CEO of Pfizer Canada. "Pfizer
has a tremendous interest in biotechnology, and our partnership with the CDRD
could contribute to supplementing the discovery pipeline, and delivering new
therapies to the market."
    An international caliber initiative led by founders with extensive
academic research backgrounds and success in establishing key B.C. life
sciences companies with strong commercial track-records, the CDRD comprises a
network of over 250 researchers working in eight B.C. research institutions
across the province. In 2007, CDRD secured over $50M in federal and provincial
funding to kick-start operation and build facilities and labs with
state-of-the-art equipment. CDRD's facilities, initially based at the
University of British Columbia, will serve researchers and trainees at
universities and affiliated institutions across B.C. CDRD has also implemented
a new research and training model that will broaden the B.C. pool of life
sciences entrepreneurs working on drug discovery and development.
    "This research investment from international industry giant Pfizer
reinforces the shared vision between government, industry and academia for our
groundbreaking initiative. It also further validates CDRD's model to bridge
the commercialization gap by facilitating and driving drug development
projects and commercializing the technology either by creating companies or
licensing to an existing company," said Natalie Dakers, Chief Executive
Officer, CDRD.
    Karimah Es Sabar, President of industry association LifeSciences British
Columbia added, "The fact that CDRD has been able to attract this investment
from one of the world's top pharmaceutical companies is a testament to both
the level of world-class science coming out of our research institutions, and
also to the tremendous value CDRD adds to the commercialization process. CDRD
has clearly established itself as a leading research accelerator on a national
and international scale, and will be a strong catalyst for the further
development of our local industry."

    About Pfizer Canada

    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Inc invests more
than US$7 billion annually in R&D to discover and develop innovative
life-saving and life-enhancing medicines in a wide range of therapeutic areas,
including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, endocrinology, HIV/AIDS,
infectious disease, neurological disease, oncology, ophthalmology and smoking
cessation. Pfizer Canada is one of the top investors in Canadian R&D,
investing more than $190 million in 2005. Canadian headquarters of Pfizer
Global Pharmaceuticals is in Kirkland, Quebec. As one of the top corporate
charitable donors in Canada, Pfizer Canada is a proud member of Imagine Canada
and its Caring Company program. In 2006, Pfizer Canada's Community Investment
Program supported more than 1000 non-profit organizations and projects across
the country with a total investment exceeding $20 million. For more
information, visit

    About the Centre for Drug Research and Development

    CDRD is a unique hybrid organization that brings together researchers,
institutions and industry to bridge the gap between primary research and the
successful development of new medicines. CDRD combines an academic research
infrastructure that enables B.C. researchers in universities and hospitals
throughout the province to focus and amplify their drug discovery and
development efforts, with a commercialization arm that drives drug development
projects and brings the technology to market either by creating companies or
licensing to an existing company. The CDRD network includes more than 250 life
sciences researchers across the province. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Sylvie Tessier, Pfizer Canada, (514) 247-9467;
Catherine Ducharme, Centre for Drug Research and Development, (604) 637-6372,
cell (604) 813-6104

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