© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pfizer and Washington University team up for drug research

(Photo credit: UPI)
Washington University

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is providing $22.5 million to Washington University over the next five years, to find new uses for existing and discontinued Pfizer drugs.

The chief scientific officer of Pfizer's Indications Discovery Unit, Don Frail, says the collaboration will give scientists at Washington University's School of Medicine unprecedented access to confidential information about more than 500 pharmaceutical compounds.

"We are going to do this through a secure web portal that Washington University investigators will have access to."

Frail says he hopes the partnership will help make new uses of Pfizer drugs available to patients more quickly.

Using the web portal, Washington University researchers will be able to find out each drug's so-called "mechanism of action:" how it works, at a molecular level.

The director of Washington University's Center for Genome Sciences, Jeff Gordon, says that armed with this information, and their own research on the molecules involved in human diseases, the scientists will be able to evaluate the drugs for potential new uses.

"So if a drug was initially designed for the treatment of one disease, could it be repurposed and its use expanded to another disease."

Gordon says the research could suggest new drug treatment strategies for a wide range of diseases.


Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.