Pfizer Assists World Health Organization in Search for New Treatments Against Diseases of the Developing World

Geschrieben am 26-10-2006

New York (ots/PRNewswire) -

- Company Opens its Compound Library to Help Search for New
Anti-Parasitic Medicines

Pfizer announced today collaboration that gives access to its
library of medicinal compounds -- the world's largest -- and also
brings scientists from developing countries into Pfizer's
laboratories for training in drug discovery techniques.

The collaboration with The Special Program for Research and
Training in Tropical Diseases of the WHO (WHO/TDR) is part of a new
effort to link the research resources of a major pharmaceutical
company to a global network of discovery research, and speed the
search for new drugs to combat some of the world's most deadly
parasitic diseases, including malaria, leishmaniasis, African
trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and Chagas' disease.

Under the arrangement, scientists in institutes affiliated with
the WHO/TDR-sponsored Compound Evaluation Network are testing
thousands of compounds from the Pfizer library. In a process called
"screening," the researchers are seeking to identify "hits" --
compounds that show initial activity against a range of tropical

As part of the collaboration, developing country researchers
supported by a second WHO/TDR network -- the Medicinal Chemistry
Network -- are working with scientists at Pfizer's laboratories in
Sandwich, UK, to further evaluate the "hits" and from those select
"lead" compounds -- those with the greatest potential to be developed
into new medicines for parasitic disease treatment and prevention.
They are also being trained by Pfizer scientists in the latest drug
discovery research methods and use of state-of-the-art tools.
Following this training, they will return to their home countries to
deploy their new knowledge and skills.

"This agreement with Pfizer is a step forward in expanding
worldwide capacity in tropical disease research, because it enhances
access to research tools for developing country researchers and
expands access to large numbers of compounds for screening to
identify new leads," said Dr Robert Ridley, director of WHO/TDR.

"This collaboration also supports the sharing of knowledge between
developed and developing country scientists, necessary to build
research capacity in developing countries," Ridley added.

Pfizer has initially provided 12,000 compounds, many of which are
known to have activity against protozoan or helminth parasites. As
WHO/TDR increases screening capacity across its network, Pfizer will
provide more compounds. The company's scientists will identify the
compounds most likely to address biochemical targets associated with
anti-parasitic activity.

"People are suffering in developing countries and we want to help
by sharing resources and boosting research against tropical
diseases," said Dr. Martin Mackay, senior vice president of Research
& Technology, Pfizer Global Research & Development. "This is
early-stage research, which means that effective new treatments are
still years downstream, but it certainly improves the chances of
identifying compounds that may lead to new drugs. We believe
public-private research collaborations are vital to tackling heath
challenges in developing countries, and we are already exploring ways
in which our collaboration with WHO/TDR might be expanded to further
aid in the search for drugs with the potential to treat tropical
diseases," he added.

WHO/TDR's Compound Evaluation and Medicinal Chemistry Networks
include institutes and laboratories worldwide with broad expertise in
parasitic diseases. The Pfizer collaboration, however, provides the
TDR-sponsored networks with greatly expanded access to chemical
compounds for screening and research.

Dr. Ridley hopes the new Pfizer collaboration will encourage other
companies to join and expand the WHO/TDR Networks, and to explore
further collaborations with developing country researchers in
discovery research. "This can be a model for other industry
collaboration. It can help attract more companies to invest in
tropical disease drug discovery," he said.

Malaria, alone, kills an estimated 1.2 million people a year,
mostly in Africa, according to WHO. Other tropical diseases, while
claiming a smaller death toll, still put the health of millions of
people in Africa, Asia and Latin America at risk every year, and are
responsible for an enormous burden of illness and disability.

Pfizer is constantly seeking new medicines to treat the most
serious health threats to populations globally, including
non-communicable diseases that have become an increasing concern in
the developed world, and infectious diseases such as malaria, still
very prevalent in developing countries.

WHO/TDR is an independent global program of scientific
collaboration established in 1975 and co-sponsored by the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP), the World Bank and the WHO.

Pfizer Inc: Working for a healthier world

Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's largest research-based
pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We
discover and develop innovative medicines to treat and help prevent
disease for both people and animals. Through consistent, high-quality
manufacturing and distribution operations, our medicines reach
patients in 180 nations. We also partner with healthcare providers,
governments and local communities around the world to expand access
to our medicines and to provide better quality healthcare and health
system support. At Pfizer, our colleagues work every day to help
people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and
economic burden of disease worldwide.

Notes to editors:
Other Pfizer initiatives:

Zithromax/chloroquine clinical trial program -- Pfizer scientists
currently are developing a potential malaria treatment based on its
widely used antibiotic Zithromax. Dosed in combination with
chloroquine, Zithromax has demonstrated positive results against
malaria in a pilot study. Clinical studies are ongoing at 19 centers
in 10 countries in South America, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and

Clinton Global Initiative (GCI) -- Pfizer has joined a
collaborative effort to address global health issues by committing
US$15 million to help close critical treatment gaps in malaria in
Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Through the CGI, Pfizer is partnering with
governments, leading local and international organizations like
UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the President's Malaria
Initiative (USAID), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help
develop and strengthen programs for the effective treatment and
management of malaria.

Global Health Fellows -- The program sends Pfizer colleagues on
assignments to work with non-governmental and multi-lateral
organizations addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria.

- Since 2003, more than 100 Fellows have been selected to work with 23
non-governmental organizations in 29 countries to deliver healthcare
and health system support to those in need around the world.

Infectious Diseases Institute -- Pfizer partners with the Academic
Alliance Foundation, Makerere University, Pangaea Global AIDS
Foundation, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and other
organizations to support training and treatment activities of the
Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in Kampala, Uganda. This regional
training and treatment center is empowering the local healthcare
providers to care for a population desperately in need of HIV/AIDS
treatment and to train others.

- Since 2004, the IDI has trained more than 1,000 healthcare providers
from 22 African countries.
- The center has delivered care to more than 19,000 patients so far.
- IDI is also partnering with Exxon Mobil to expand training programs to
include the latest advances in malaria diagnosis, treatment and patient

Diflucan Partnership Program -- Diflucan(R) (fluconazole), an
antifungal that treats two fungal opportunistic infections associated
with AIDS, is provided free of charge to governmental and
non-governmental organizations in developing countries.

- The program has donated approximately US$375 million in medicine to
organizations who treat HIV positive patients with life-threatening
fungal infections. The program is active in 47 countries hardest hit
- Since 2000, the Diflucan Partnership Program supported the training of
20,000 health professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of fungal
opportunistic infections.

International Trachoma Initiative -- A public-private partnership
dedicated to eliminating trachoma, the world's leading cause of
preventable blindness, through health worker training, patient
education and donations of the antibiotic, Zithromax(R)

- The ITI has given 37 million treatments of Zithromax(R) (azithromycin)
to trachoma patients in 12 countries as part of the WHO SAFE strategy
that combines prevention and treatment. Since 1998 the program has
supported the training of thousands of health workers around the world
who, in turn, have completed more than 220,000 surgeries to treat
advanced cases of trachoma.

Web site: http://www.pfizer.com

ots Originaltext: Pfizer Inc.
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

Joel Morris, in UK, +44-1304-648922, or Stephen Lederer, in US,
+1-860-732-9783, for Pfizer; or Jamie Guth of TDR Communications,
+41-22-791-1538, cell, +41-79-441-2289, for WHO; Photo: A free
corporate logo to accompany this story is available immediately via
Wieck Photo Database to any media with telephoto receiver or
electronic darkroom, PC or Macintosh, that can accept overhead
transmissions. To retrieve a logo, please call +1-972-392-0888.
Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/688250.html


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