Pfizer will collaborate on continued research at University College London in the use of stem cells for the development of treatments in certain ophthalmic conditions. The joint venture will enable Pfizer's regenerative medicine arm to hold the exclusive worldwide license to any product developed from the research in exchange for further funding and assistance in developing clinical trials and navigating regulatory processes worldwide.
The collaboration will reportedly examine how human embryonic stem (hES) cells differentiate into retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and aim to develop stem cell-based therapies for wet and dry macular degeneration (AMD).
Pfizer says it will provide funding to UCL to research the development of stem cell-based therapies for AMD as well as other retinal diseases. The company will have the option to conduct clinical trials to determine efficacy of treatment after the completion of preclinical safety studies as well as commercialize any resulting product.
"We have not only the benefit of Pfizer's experience of the regulatory process and their expertise in stem cell technology but the ability, if this works, to produce on a much larger scale," says Professor Pete Coffey of UCL Institute for Ophthalmology. "It has huge implications, not only for our project, but for the field of regenerative medicine as a whole."