Russian toward innovation
August 2011
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


WASHINGTON, D.C.óPfizer Inc. and ChemRar High Tech Center, a Russian pharmaceutical investment and R&D group, recently announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the possibility of a collaboration focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative drugs in Russia and other countries.
Pfizer and ChemRar will explore collaboration opportunities for the development and commercialization of innovative compounds from Pfizer's pipeline through technology transfer and outlicensing deals with venture funding, though no details as to specific compounds have been released. The two companies also plan to develop compounds and vaccines for the health issues that are of greatest concern in Russia.
"The main focus today is to explore the potential for development and commercialization of certain innovative compounds within Pfizer's pipeline to treat patients with cardiometabolic, infectious and oncology diseases, which are a high priority for the Russian Federation healthcare system," says Sam Azoulay, senior vice president of medical and development in emerging markets at Pfizer, adding that the company is "proud to collaborate with ChemRar High-Tech Center."  
The terms of the MoU state that Pfizer and ChemRar can further collaborate with other partners, including the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Skolkovo Foundation and other members of the Russian Biopharmaceutical Cluster "Northern," created under the Federal Target Program of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation. Additionally, the two companies can establish a shared-risk platform for several of Pfizer's research and development programs designed to achieve clinical candidates and proof-of-concept in the clinic.  
"Considering the importance of international partnership to our government's vision for Russian business, the expertise of leading pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer is very important," Andrey Ivaschenko, chairman of the board at ChemRar, said in a press release. "Agreements such as this are critical to developing the applied sciences and university research in Russia, within the global market environment."
Ivaschenko says ChemRar is completing due diligence and conducting negotiations on several molecules in Pfizer's pipeline, adding that they hope "first contracts on technology transfer, co- development and co-investment will be signed very soon." The partnership, he says, is one they believe will help "to better position innovative Russian medical sciences and their competitive advantages within the international life industries cooperation."
The partnership is part of Pfizer's strategy in Russia known as "MORE THAN," which aims at contributing to the modernization of Russia's healthcare system, as well as extended life expectancy, lowered mortality rate and improved quality of life for all Russians. MORE THAN is also meant to create value for the Russian people through modernizing its pharmaceutical industry, accelerating medical innovation development and improving healthcare access.  
"We see Russia as a potential leader in the innovative pharmaceutical, biotechnological and nano-technological areas," David Simmons, president and general manager of emerging markets and established products at Pfizer, said in a press release. "The Pharma 2020 Strategy driven by the Russian government creates favorable conditions for transition of the Russian pharmaceutical industry to the innovative development model, and Pfizer is excited to be a part of these new opportunities."
The Pharma 2020 Strategy, which originated in 2007, is focused on the goal of "re-establishing the pharmaceutical industry in Russia in the context of the market economy," according to Ivaschenko. The emphasis, he says, is on localizing the full cycle of drug development in Russia, from discovery to manufacturing, a goal that "can be achieved only if the domestic pharmaceutical industry becomes innovative through partnerships with international pharmaceutical companies and Russian academia."  
"We have over 15 years experience in research cooperation with Pfizer," says Ivaschenko. "This new approach is aiming at a new horizon representing a truly win-win solution for both parties."
Code: E081106

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