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Pfizer, Easter Bush Form Strategic Alliance

by 5m Editor
12 November 2010, at 9:42am

UK - The new five-year strategic alliance between Pfizer Animal Health and the Easter Bush Research Consortium (EBRC) is part of a broader partnership platform to advance excellence in veterinary research and education.

A new animal health partnership platform aimed at finding better ways of preventing and managing disease and advancing sustainable animal agriculture and welfare has been established by Pfizer Animal Health and the Easter Bush Research Consortium (EBRC) – one of the largest veterinary research and education consortia in Europe.

The new initiative, which will be backed by funding of approximately US$2 million over five years, was formally launched in Scotland when Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, visited the University of Edinburgh.

"This new collaboration builds on the long and productive relationship between Pfizer Animal Health and the EBRC, and is grounded in our shared mission to continuously improve the health and care of animals worldwide," said Theo Kanellos, Associate Director of Global Alliances at Pfizer. "Moreover, it affirms Pfizer's steadfast commitment to advancing veterinary research and education."

The collaboration will involve the four EBRC partners: the Moredun Research Institute; The Roslin Institute (a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council National Institute of Bioscience); The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh and SAC, the Scottish Agricultural College.

It forms part of the Pfizer Partnership Platform, a unique partnership between the animal health industry, research institutions, agricultural colleges and academia. One of the first of its kind in the animal health sector, the venture aims to promote excellence in veterinary research and education.

Pfizer Partnership Platform objectives with the EBRC include:

  • Advance veterinary educational activities
  • Support early stage research, PhDs, technologies and capability platforms
  • Promote veterinarians in postgraduate study and research
  • Promote multi-disciplinary research teams, with contributions from different participating organisations.

The partnership was launched at the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush campus where a $90 million building has just been completed. The building will accommodate The Roslin Institute and animal science specialists from SAC.

Professor Elaine Watson, head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: "This partnership will provide the financial investment to develop world class veterinary education in a research-led environment and ensure that Edinburgh grows as a centre for international scientific excellence and knowledge transfer.

"The EBRC has a wealth of expertise and this agreement ensures a critical mass of inquiry for animal health and welfare issues, which will encourage new multi-disciplinary collaborations as well as provide training for the next generation of vets and scientists," she added.

Roslin Director, David Hume, said: "From the view of a BBSRC Institute, this investment represents a strong vindication of BBSRC Science Strategy directed towards solving the global challenges in food security."

Dr Paul Wood, Head of Global Discovery at Pfizer, explained: "Projects will cover all the major food production and companion animal species and include vaccines, immunology, infectious diseases, parasitology, proteomics, genetics, genomics, antigenomics, target identification, clinical models and comparative translational medicine."

The partnership will also support PhD candidates, allowing students to draw upon a wealth of expertise from across the EBRC's four organisations. Students will be able to broaden their skills with knowledge that can be applied to future careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry or government. It will also support students to attend summer schools as well as undertake a Master's degree on the University of Edinburgh's One Health programme. Students on the course, which is being launched next year, will study zoonoses – infectious diseases that cross species barriers – and food-borne diseases.

Albert Bourla, President of the EuAfME region at Pfizer Animal Health, added: "This new collaboration will bring together many of the research leaders in the animal health world, backed by an unrivalled resource. The potential for increasing our knowledge and improving our ability to manage animal health and welfare issues is very exciting. The time when industry could research and develop its own ideas and products in isolation is coming to an end; the future of animal health and welfare lies in multi-disciplinary collaboration with external partners who share the same vision."

Together, Pfizer and the EBRC will encourage leading veterinary scientists from different organisations to share information and insights and work together on defined research and education projects that foster and accelerate innovation in the animal health sector.

For more information, visit Pfizer Animal Health or EBRC.