A translational medicine collaboration opportunity for UQ researchers to access Pfizer drug discovery capabilities


Pfizer's CTI Request for proposals for therapeutic targets, deadline 14th October 2019

Q&A sessions with Dr Anand Gautam, Pfizer
Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th September 2019

9:00am - 1:00pm, Genie's Cafe, QBP (#80 - map)
Register at rsvp@uniquest.com.au
Is your research in the area of oncology, inflammation and immunology, fibrotic diseases or rare diseases?
Are you working on targets/pathways that relate to tissue-resident immunity or DNA damage/stress which could be a point of disease intervention if modulated by a new small molecule drug or a therapeutic antibody, protein or peptide?
Are you seeking funding for translational research or drug discovery?
If you've answered yes to each of these questions, then you should apply to the Pfizer CTI-UQ Biotherapeutic Partnership. 
UQ clinicians and researchers working with validated drug targets that are tractable with small molecules or 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 Pfizer CTI-UQ Biotherapeutic Partnership was launched in March 2016. As we now enter the third year of a five year partnership with Pfizer, the second call for proposals in 2019 is now open. 
The application process starts with a brief (max. 2-3 pages) non-confidential pre-proposal emailed to pfizer@uniquest.com.au by Monday, 14th October 2019.


Areas of Interest - October 2019

Disease Area Focus:
  • Oncology: Select solid tumors, such as colorectal, breast, lung, prostate, pancreatic, hepatocellular, ovarian. 
  • Autoimmunity/Inflammation: IBD, NAFLD/NASH, atopic dermatology, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fibrotic diseases  
  • Rare diseases: monogenic hematologic (non-malignant) disorders, neurologic/neuromuscular disorders, inborn errors of metabolism, endocrine, renal and cardiovascular diseases. Ultra-rare indications are not in scope at this time.
Targets/Pathways of Focus:

Opportunities related to tissue-resident immunity with application in the fields of inflammation, fibrosis, autoimmunity and oncology:

  • Novel molecular or cellular targets with tissue-restricted expression or occurrence that modulate inflammation, immune homeostasis (i.e. tolerance or tumorigenesis)
  • Regulation of non-classical and non-circulating immune cells in human disease progression or prevention
  • Role of tissue-resident macrophages (i.e. synovial, alveolar, adipose etc) in inflammation, immune homeostasis or tissue repair  
  • Mechanisms of tissue-specific targeting or localisation of immune cells and/or therapeutic agents in select peripheral compartments such as gut, liver, skin and lung

Opportunities related to DNA damage response and replicative stress with application in the fields of oncology, immunology and rare diseases:

  • Chromatin and DNA damage response modulators in the context of nuclear or spatial organisation (biochemical condensates)
  • Innovative targets identified via synthetic lethal, chemical biology or other approaches, including DNA repair enzymes, scaffolding factors and nucleic acid targets (R-loops, G-quadruplexes)
  • Senescence, translesion synthesis and other mutagenic repair processes

Novel strategies targeting the cause of repeat expansion diseases, including:

  • Those that target the mutant gene
  • Nucleic acid-binding and other small molecules that halt or reverse the somatic expansion of the repeating DNA sequences
  • Novel mechanisms downstream of the pathological repeat, excluding mAbs that clear protein aggregation
  • DNA repair or maintenance mechanisms affecting repeat expansions.


Modalities Considered

Large Molecules: antibodies, proteins, fusion proteins, antibody conjugates, conditional activated biotherapeutics for enhanced tissue/tumor targeting 

Small Molecules: target classes include kinases, deubiquitinating enzymes, GPCRs, ion channels, solute transporters, epigenetic targets, phosphatases, and RNA modulators


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
  • ​Novel 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 14 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 Discipline of Medicine, Professor Paul Clarke, Director UQ Diamantina Institute and Dr Mark Ashton, Executive Director, IP Commercialisation, UniQuest.


Further information

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

Dr Craig Belcher
Senior Director, Commercialisation and Head of 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, 768KB)

Pre-Proposal Template 
(MS Word, 185KB)