Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) and the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) have agreed to collaborate intended to advance research into immunological diseases, the pharma giant said today.

CTI and JMF will identify and co-fund translational research projects with leading academic medical centers within the CTI network. The goal of each research project will be to identify and validate a potential drug candidate for an immunological disease that can be moved into further clinical testing.

“Accelerating drug discovery is the goal of every CTI collaboration and this agreement aligns with two of our core therapeutic areas, immunology and rare diseases,” Anthony J. Coyle, svp and CTI’s CSO, said in a statement.

CTI’s network consists of 25 academic institutions and six foundations, as well as four locations: Boston, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco. The network was launched in 2010 to promote academic-industry collaboration designed to bridge the gap between early scientific discovery and its translation into new treatments.

Within CTI, Pfizer scientists work alongside academic investigators, sharing target biology and translational medicine expertise. Pfizer provides access to select compound libraries, proprietary screening methods, antibody development technologies, and dedicated resources and support from company experts in drug development and protein sciences. According to CTI, the goal of each collaborative project is to validate a drug candidate that can be advanced into further clinical testing.

For JMF, the collaboration with Pfizer is the foundation’s first alliance with a biopharmaceutical company.

“JMF’s expertise in primary immunodeficiency and extensive network of collaborators, combined with Pfizer’s impressive research and development capabilities has the potential to identify and advance novel research projects,” JMF co-founder Vicki Modell said in a statement.

Modell and her husband Fred Modell established the foundation in 1987 in memory of their son Jeffrey, who died at age 15 from complications of primary immunodeficiency. The foundation’s Jeffrey Modell Centers Network includes 600 physicians at 248 academic institutions, in 206 cities in 79 countries on six continents.

“By supporting scientific forums, by funding research, by supporting professors and researchers, by providing funds that enable the best and brightest to choose immunology as a life-long career, we hope to have been a critical catalyst for the increased pace of scientific discovery, and we hope that we have influenced and caused positive change for health policy around the world,” the Modells wrote on the foundation’s website.

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