Pfizer partners with nanotechnology firm

Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday that a new collaboration with Massachusetts-based BIND Therapeutics could eventually lead to drug work at company laboratories in Groton.

New York-based Pfizer confirmed a deal Wednesday that would pay BIND up to $200 million for each drug it works on that wins regulatory approval. The Cambridge company has a patented nanotechnology system that helps bypass the body's antibodies to deliver precise, therapeutic doses of new drugs to targeted areas.

"As any future investigational molecules from Pfizer advance into candidates, Groton could play an important role given the site's key development, safety and regulatory teams," Pfizer spokeswoman Lauren Starr said in an email.

Starr added that other Pfizer sites also might be involved in the collaboration with BIND. The company did not identify the types of diseases being targeted, but in the past BIND has worked on cancer, inflammatory and cardiovascular therapies.

"Pfizer has a strong legacy in targeted small molecule drug discovery and development and continues to be on the cutting edge of innovation in this area," said Rod MacKenzie, Groton's site leader and head of Pfizer's PharmaTherapeutics research division.

MacKenzie added that BIND's nanotechnology techniques bring the possibility of "optimizing the therapeutic potential" of orally administered drugs.

"BIND develops Accurins that outperform conventional drugs by selectively accumulating in diseased tissues and cells," the Cambridge company said in a release. "The result is higher drug concentrations at the site of action with minimal off-target exposure, leading to markedly better efficacy and safety."

BIND will get about $50 million in up-front payments from Pfizer for each Accurin it develops, with the potential of another $160 million or more for every drug that passes regulatory hurdles. Pfizer will decide on the drug targets, but it wouldn't say how many it will be aiming for, according to industry blog FiercePharma.

FiercePharma pointed out that the BIND collaboration "marks a key change for Pfizer," saying the company had over the past few years been spinning out drug programs rather than buying into them.

BIND is developing some of its own drugs in-house, but also has inked a key agreement with Amgen to produce new drug targets for teh California-based pharmaceutical company.


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