Pfizer and Flagship sign a $7 billion strategic level R&D agreement

Pfizer and Flagship sign a $7 billion strategic level R&D agreement

Source – Pfizer

Pfizer has formed a significant partnership with venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, worth up to $7 billion, to leverage the potential of new drug candidates from Flagship’s portfolio of pharmaceutical companies.

Under this collaboration, Pfizer and Flagship will jointly invest $50 million each into the development of up to 10 drug candidates. Pfizer will provide funding and receive opt-in rights for these candidates. If Pfizer chooses to exercise its rights, Flagship and its associated companies will be eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $700 million, as well as royalties if the drugs successfully reach the market.

The primary objective of this alliance is to generate novel drug candidates in Pfizer’s core therapeutic areas, which encompass oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare diseases, internal medicine, vaccines, and anti-infectives.

Flagship, known for its role in establishing mRNA specialist Moderna and led by biotech co-founder Noubar Afeyan, has been making significant strides in the biotech industry with its strategy of creating companies based on biopharmaceutical technology platforms. It often takes calculated risks with high-potential ventures.

The current portfolio of Flagship comprises 45 companies, including Denali Therapeutics, Foghorn Therapeutics, Omega Therapeutics, Sana Biotechnology, and Seres Therapeutics.

“At Pfizer, we are expanding our efforts to pursue potential breakthrough science with unique approaches and funding mechanisms designed to leverage the dynamic scientific ecosystem. This collaboration is an exciting opportunity for Pfizer to bring deep scientific expertise and apply our development and regulatory strength to Flagship’s diverse portfolio of technology platforms, translating early-stage innovation to potential medicines.”

– Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical of Pfizer

In a similar vein, Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk previously formed a smaller alliance with Flagship to explore new medications for cardiometabolic and rare diseases, also focusing on Flagship’s portfolio companies. Both collaborations provide pharmaceutical companies with the opportunity to assess emerging technologies from biotechs at an early stage, while biotechs gain access to partnerships with multinational corporations.

Pfizer’s approach differs slightly, as it taps into Flagship’s Pioneering Medicines unit, established in 2021, which leverages the drug discovery platforms of Flagship’s portfolio companies across therapeutic categories beyond their individual focuses.

By taking a comprehensive perspective, multiple platforms can be utilized concurrently, enabling accelerated drug development and facilitating patient access to innovative therapies.

“Flagship and Pfizer enter into this strategic alliance driven by a shared sense of urgency to develop novel medicines that make a difference for patients. This new partnership brings together the best of our organizations to maximize discovery and development potential from inception to impact through a unique innovation supply chain that sets us on a path to potentially realize transformational medicines more quickly and effectively.”

– Paul Biondi, President, Pioneering Medicines, and Executive Partner, Flagship Pioneering

Biondi remarked that the partnership “brings together the best of our organisations to maximise discovery and development potential from inception to impact, through a unique innovation supply chain.”

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