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Pfizer, CFFT expand cystic fibrosis collaboration
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


BETHESDA, Md.Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc., the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, has announced a major expansion of its research collaboration with Pfizer Inc. The collaboration is focused on discover new drugs to treat people with Delta F508, the most common mutation of cystic fibrosis.  
The new expansion agreement is based on a collaboration established between the two organizations in 2010 when Pfizer acquired biotech company FoldRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. The initiative was part of the company's effort to discover and develop medicines for rare diseases, and the transaction included FoldRx's cystic fibrosis research program in collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, which started in 2007.
"Innovative collaborations between industry and patient organizations are increasingly critical in expediting the translation of science into new treatments," Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, senior vice president of Pfizer BioTherapeutics R&D, said in a press release regarding the expansion. "We look forward to continued collaboration with the CF Foundation and to applying our leading science with the goal of identifying novel therapies for the treatment of this devastating disease."  
Per the terms of the new six-year preclinical research program, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics will invest up to $58 million to support and accelerate the discovery and development of therapies that have the potential to target the intrinsic cause of the condition. The ultimate aim of the partnership is to see one or more drug candidates advance to the clinic by the end of the collaboration.  
The agreement will seek to identify therapies that can help patients with the Delta F508 mutation. In patients that have this particular mutation, a defective protein called CFTR does not fold correctly, which keeps it from reaching the surface of the cell and carrying out its function in maintaining the proper flow of salt and fluids into the airways. The result is that thick secretions form in the airways, which in turn leads to serious lung infections as well as lung damage. Close to 90 percent of cystic fibrosis sufferers carry at least one copy of the Delta F508 mutation. Pfizer and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics will work to discover therapies capable of restoring the normal function of the protein.  
"We are excited to expand our efforts with Pfizer to accelerate the development of more therapies that treat the root cause of CF and benefit the greatest number of people with the disease," Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said in a statement. "Pfizer brings impressive technical and scientific expertise, along with its commitment to improving the lives of people with cystic fibrosis."  
SOURCE: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Code: E11201201



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