Traditionally, business development in the pharmaceutical industry was generally confined to M&A and in-licensing assets or technologies. But in recent years, our focus on true research partnerships – where we work collaboratively with a partner to achieve shared goals, building on the unique strengths of each partner – is often where we can unlock the most potential.”

Doug Giordano

SENIOR VP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PFIZER

March 05, 2019

Could you share Pfizer’s approach to business development, as well as its key objectives for 2019?

Pfizer’s approach to business development is to seek out opportunities that advance our breakthrough science and business strategies. This has been our overall approach in recent years, and will continue to be in 2019. While our general approach has not changed, we are increasing our focus on opportunities that can provide early-stage pipeline assets that can provide potential for long-term growth, rather than later-stage assets that can provide near-term revenue.

We have a particular focus on continuing to find the right partnerships and investments that focus on accessing cutting-edge science and breakthrough biology for novel targets, technology platforms, and old and new modalities to generate true first-in-class therapies in areas of high unmet medical need. Additionally, we will look for those opportunities across all stages of drug development to enhance growth mid- to long-term, and do so globally, regardless of geographic location. In addition, nontraditional partnerships – such as those with technology companies – are becoming increasingly interesting to us. It’s still somewhat early to determine exactly how our core capabilities can truly complement each other to advance scientific research, but we are excited about future possibilities in this space.

Oncology continues to be a hot area for investment and R&D. How integral will this therapeutic area be for Pfizer in relation to others?

Pfizer invests in areas where we see the greatest opportunity and where we believe we can deliver the best value. While oncology is a core therapeutic area for Pfizer, we have a diverse pipeline and product portfolio and we continue to invest in each of those areas. For our R&D efforts specifically, our core therapeutic areas are: Inflammation & Immunology, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Rare Disease and Vaccines. We look to business development to enhance our pipeline with programs that are approaching or already in the clinic. We also seek partnering opportunities to gain access to specific technologies within Pfizer’s core therapeutic areas, and platforms to enable drug discovery and development.

What is Pfizer’s attitude toward “external innovation” versus acquisition and building out internal capabilities and capacity?

It’s always important to find the right mix of external innovation versus internal innovation, but the lines are not always clear-cut. While we certainly focus on building internal capabilities, we also seek early-stage platforms and technologies externally that we can bring in-house and then continue to build internally to suit any specific needs. Traditionally, business development in the pharmaceutical industry was generally confined to M&A and in-licensing assets or technologies. But in recent years, our focus on true research partnerships – where we work collaboratively with a partner to achieve shared goals, building on the unique strengths of each partner – is often where we can unlock the most potential. And that blurs the lines a bit between innovation that is purely internal or purely external.

We believe this is what has been key to our success and will continue to be in the future: sourcing the best assets, capabilities and talent from within our walls, while creatively tapping into the rich external environment. Ultimately, our goal is always to bring forward the best science to help us deliver transformative therapies to patients.

Could you outline the strategy driving Pfizer Ventures’ fund allocation?

Pfizer Ventures was founded in 2004 with the goal of investing in emerging companies that are advancing innovative breakthrough science across all stages of development. Today, Pfizer Ventures actively manages an investment portfolio of more than 40 companies with more than US$1 billion of total assets. Pfizer Ventures only invests in areas of current or future strategic interest to Pfizer. In June 2018, Pfizer announced an expansion in venture investing with US$600 million commitment to Pfizer Ventures, up to approximately 25% of new funding to be dedicated to neuroscience. In 2018, Pfizer Ventures made seven investments, three in neuroscience.

Could you share a final message to Global Business Reports’ national and international readers?

When it comes to our partnering philosophy, we seek partners who share our goal of bringing highly differentiated therapies to patients faster and more efficiently than would otherwise happen in isolation. We recognize that each partnership is unique, and over the years our teams have become more and more creative and resourceful in creating deal structures that share in the risks and opportunities so that each party and its respective stakeholders are positioned for success.

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