Updated on 13 March 2013
What is in the drug pipeline of the company?
We think we have a very exciting pipeline. We have a number of products that have been approved in the past year or so [in different countries]. Xalkori for treatment on non-small lung cancer, Eliquis for stroke prevention; tofacitinib [Xeljanz] in some countries for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Inlyta for treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. If you think about the overall drought in the industry, these are interesting new approvals. We have focused the efforts in our portfolio.
We have now focusing on five therapeutic areas where there is significant unmet need and where we as a company believe that we have unique expertise that would help us bring solutions in the space: Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, immunology and inflammation, neurosciences, oncology and vaccines. We also have areas of focus in biosimilars and rare diseases. We are enthusiastic about the pipeline we have in these areas and also the way we are approaching innovation through collaborations and partnerships. Our focus on specific areas, quality of molecules, and the collaborative nature [of research and development] is novel in many ways and really exciting.
Many companies bring different compounds through the pipeline and if we stop development, those compounds don't continue to develop for many reasons. These compounds exist in large and small companies and some of these compounds have never reached the market place. The idea behind repurposing is to go back and see if there is something other than what we looked at it for. We didn't see something else to do with this but maybe someone in other therapeutic area may have ideas about this compound. Thus, we are participating in two programs, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has a program called RE-SEARCH. This group has received compounds from various companies from around the world. The government, academic institutions, and NGOs look at the data and try to utilize the compounds for other diseases. This is like crowd-sourcing R&D.
Another program that we are associated with is a repurposing program run through the National Center for Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is a new division at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. We set up a platform where eight companies have contributed molecules which have not made to market; they appear safe, but development was stopped as the data didn't appear to be as robust in the indications that we were studying. Now, through the NCATS program, scientists can study these molecules for potential use in other diseases. I am excited about these two because I believe in using what you have and these [molecules] are among the most underutilized resources that we have. This is a form of meta-collaboration. NGOs, government, and others are coming together with the private sector to see what we can do to tackle the vexing problems in healthcare.
The pharma industry, especially R&D, is enduring significant changes. Many pharma companies are looking for new and more effective R&D models. Is Pfizer looking at making more changes and adjustments?
We are doing a lot of things because everyone is under the pressure to improve productivity. A part of what we do is focus on quality. We have made some challenging decisions to focus on 5 therapeutic areas, for example. Focus is one of the important elements to improve productivity. We have a lot of work ongoing that improves the quality of molecules that move forward all intending to focus on best possible success and the scientific, medical and commercial aspects of our molecules.