Pfizer ramps up stem cell investment

Human neural stem cells, courtesy Yirui Sun, Wellcome Images

Human neural stem cells
Image courtesy Yirui Sun, Wellcome Images

Pharma just loves stem cells these days.  The latest evidence of this infatuation with the sector is the May 7 announcement by Pfizer of its further plans for stem cell development within the Pfizer Regenerative Medicine division.

The company had previously announced the establishment of R&D sites at both the Cambridges (UK and MA) and also deals with Cellartis AB and UC San Francisco.  The most recent announcement provides details of what Pfizer is aiming to do.

Some highlights:

  • Pfizer Regenerative Medicine (Pfizer RM) will be headquartered at Granta Park, Cambridge, UK.
  • Pfizer RM will have 70 employees with the majority based in the UK.
  • The company will invest $100 million in the Pfizer RM operation over the next 3-5 years (the largest stem cell R&D commitment by pharma to date).
  • The R&D focus will be on small molecules to affect stem cells within the body and more “traditional” cell therapeutics.
  • The first major Pfizer RM project in the UK will be with University College London for the treatment of certain forms of blindness through the London Project to Cure Blindness.

One major impact of this significant investment is that stem cell developers now have a powerful ally at the regulatory level thanks to Pfizer’s activities.

Not too shabby!