Pfizer, UCB announce joint venture

New company Cyclofluidic aims to accelerate drug discovery via automating flow chemistry, flow biology

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NEW YORK—Pfizer Inc. and Belgian pharma company UCB announced in late October the formation of Cyclofluidic, a breakthrough technology company established with the aim of developing technologies that automate and integrate processes known as flow chemistry and flow biology to help pharmaceutical companies shorten timelines within the drug development process.

Explaining the background to the U.K. Technology Strategy Board, which will support the new company via R&D funding, Cyclofluidic's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "Our role is to stimulate the development and deployment of technologies which, as well as benefiting society, [will] also provide global business opportunities for the U.K.

"Cyclofluidic is an excellent example of the private and public sectors working together to develop world-leading technologies which have the potential to bring enormous benefit to patients in the UK and around the world. We are delighted to offer our support and investment."

"Cyclofluidic's entry into the rapidly evolving microfluidic technology area has the potential to radically transform the medicinal chemistry and biology interface," says Dr. Neil Weir, senior vice president of research at UCB. "It's an exciting opportunity for UCB and Pfizer to collaborate and offers real potential for improved productivity, underlining our commitment to innovation for patients."

Cyclofluidic will be jointly owned by Pfizer and UCB, with each company having both a seat and scientific observer rights on the board.

 "This is a great example of how public-private partnerships can provide innovative technologies to speed medicines to market. We are impressed by the way the Technology Strategy Board has initiated a novel and creative deal structure," says Peter Luke, senior director, worldwide business development at Pfizer.

Cyclofluidic will develop a microfluidic, closed-loop lead optimization platform which will enable researchers to access state-of-the-art expertise in flow chemistry, flow screening and microfluidic engineering. This will be addressed through extensive collaboration with key academics and component manufacturers.

The company will also provide training for both flow chemistry and biology scientists at its facility, to be located in the south of England. DDN

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