A translational medicine collaboration opportunity for UQ researchers


Is your research in the area of oncology, inflammation, cardiovascular, neuroscience or rare monogeneic genetic diseases? Have you found an extracellular target that could modulate disease by a therapeutic antibody, protein or peptide? Are you seeking funding for translational research? If yes to each of these questions, then you should apply to the PfizerCTI-UQ Biotherapeutic Partnership. 
UQ clinicians and researchers working with validated drug targets that are tractable with biologic modalities such as monoclonal antibodies, peptides or proteins, and are interested in developing a novel therapeutic agent in partnership with pharma should apply.
The PfizerCTI-UQ Biotherapeutic Partnership was launched in March 2016. As we now enter the second year of a five year partnership with Pfizer the second call for proposals in 2017 is now open. 
The application process starts with a brief (max. 3-4 pages) non-confidential Pre-Proposal emailed to pfizer@uniquest.com.au by Friday 13th October 2017. 



Therapeutic Areas of Interest - September 2017

  • Oncology: Target/Pathway that promote anti-tumor immune responses whether alone or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors; provide innate anti-tumor immune system activation; reduce or overcome tumor-induced immune suppression; or alter tumor microenvironment metabolism. Targets that promote directed tumor cell killing. Targets that address EMT, senescence, tumor plasticity, translational stress or protein stability. Novel cell-surface targets that enable mAb therapy.
  • Inflammation and Immunology: Target/Pathway that provide immune regulation but do not involve broad-based immunosuppression including Adaptive and Innate immunity, Th17 lymphocyte biology, Regulatory cells and Tolerance induction, Immune metabolism with a focus on Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, NASH, Atopic Dermatitis, Alopecia, Vitiligo. Host-microbial interactions and microbiome are of interest with focus on epithelial barrier
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases: Target/Pathway that decrease in hepatic lipid content, inflammation and the development of liver fibrosis in NASH/NAFLD. Novel approaches that reduce hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia.
  • Neuroscience: Primary focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Target/Pathway with disease modifying and symptomatic potential. Chronic neuroinflammation mechanisms impacting the pathologies of AD and PD.
  • Rare diseases: Target/Pathway representing novel therapeutic interventions for Hematologic (non-malignant), including Haemophilia, sickle cell disease and beta- thalassemia; for skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases including Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophies; or for repeat expansion diseases including Huntington’s disease, ALS/FTD and myotonic dystrophy.


Modalities Sought

Large Molecules: (antibodies, proteins, fusion proteins, ADCs) or

Note: RNAi, CRISPR technologies and nanoparticles are not in scope for the current CTI Call for Proposals


Key Project Attributes

  • Strong project rationale: Demonstrated association between target biology and disease mechanism
  • Ability to address unmet medical needs
  • Link between target pathway and human disease
  • Feasibility: tractable target, discovery/development plan
  • ‚ÄčNovel target, novel therapeutic strategy or new insight into target patient population


The Process

We encourage interested UQ clinicians and researchers to submit a brief abstract describing their project to UniQuest and we can help assess suitability prior to Pre-Proposal submission. Non-confidential Pre-Proposals should then be submitted via email to Pfizer@uniquest.com.au by the Friday 13 October deadline.

Prior to submission to CTI, we will conduct a review of the Pre-Proposal to ensure that no confidential or proprietary information is included. CTI will make the decisions on which Pre-Proposals to advance to a full proposal stage. Invitations will then be sent to the UQ clinicians and researchers to submit confidential full proposals, to be developed together with one or more Pfizer CTI scientists. Funding decisions on full proposals will be made by the UQ/UniQuest-Pfizer Joint Steering Committee.

Funding decisions on full proposals will be made by the UQ/UniQuest-Pfizer Joint Steering Committee. UQ members of the JSC are Professor Darrell Crawford MD FRACP, Head of the School of Medicine, and Professor John Prins MBBS PhD FRACP FAHMS, Director of the Mater Research Institute-UQ.


Disease Foundation focus in September 2017

In this round, Pfizer is particularly looking for projects which can benefit from their strategic relationship with the disease foundations in the US who have targeted needs and interest in funding translational research. If it aligns with your research and application, please make specific note in your Pre-Proposal application. The disease foundations are:

  • Lupus Research Alliance
  • Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
  • Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Jeffrey Modell Foundation 


Further information

Below are links to documents that provide additional details:



If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact:

Dr Craig Belcher
Senior Director, Commercial Engagement - Life Sciences 
E: c.belcher@uniquest.com.au


About CTI

The Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) is a pioneering research and development network initiated by pharma that uses an open innovation model to bring great ideas to fruition. Part of Pfizer, we are an entrepreneurial group that partners with leading global universities, academic medical centers and disease foundations with the aim of translating promising science into clinical candidates.

More information at: www.pfizercti.com



Guidelines for the CTI Program 
(PDF, 301KB)

Flyer Call for Proposals 
(PDF, 338KB)

Pre-Proposal Template 
(MS Word, 179KB)