New industry partnership with Pfizer will boost cancer research

The NIHR Clinical Research Network's new partnership with global biopharmaceutical company, Pfizer will help maximise cancer research activity in the UK

The Industry Alliance is an academic partnership between the Network and Pfizer with an objective of optimising early phase testing of new anticancer therapies.

The primary driver behind the Industry Alliance initiative is patient benefit: by supporting the life sciences industry in this way, more compounds can be tested for clinical effectiveness across a wider range of cancers, ultimately leading to more patients gaining faster access to cutting edge treatments.

This is the fifth alliance of its type to be signed with a commercial company. Further alliances already exist with AstraZeneca/MedImmune, GlaxoSmithKline and Verastem. These existing alliances have resulted in the rapid growth of industry supported, academically sponsored trials.

Underwritten by a Memorandum of Understanding, the alliances promote and facilitate interaction between expert cancer clinicians through the National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Studies Groups and the companies’ drug development teams. This interaction allows those experts access to compounds for early phase clinical trials that are additional to the companies’ main research and development effort, and often in rare disease areas.

George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, said: 'Partnerships between the NIHR and leading life science research and development companies are vital to improve the health and prosperity of the nation through pioneering biomedical innovation. By harnessing the world-leading expertise that exists in our universities and NHS, we can ensure that cancer patients are able to access to the latest medical innovations as quickly as possible.’

Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer, NIHR Clinical Research Network, said: ‘An alliance with Pfizer is excellent news for the Network and highlights that global companies recognise the great potential for collaborative clinical research in the UK. More and more companies are getting on board with the alliance partnership model and this means greater benefits for all. Ultimately, delivering new, improved treatments from bench to bedside is a huge positive for patients, healthcare professionals and the life sciences industry.’

Dr David Montgomery, Medical Director, Pfizer Oncology UK said: ‘Pfizer is proud to be partnering with the NIHR Clinical Research Network as part of our ongoing commitment to developing medical advancements to help in our fight to cure or control cancer. Collaboration between academia and industry is vital, and this alliance will help to bring new trials and new treatment options to patients in the UK.’

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