Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc. (CFFT), the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, today announced a major expansion of its research collaboration with Pfizer Inc. designed to discover new drugs to treat people with the most common mutation of CF, Delta F508.
Under the new six-year pre-clinical research program with Pfizer, CFFT will invest up to $58 million to speed the discovery and development of potential therapies that target the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis. The program's goal is to advance one or more drug candidates into the clinic by the end of the multiyear collaboration.
"We are excited to expand our efforts with Pfizer to accelerate the development of more therapies that treat the root cause of CF and benefit the greatest number of people with the disease," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and CEO of the CF Foundation. "Pfizer brings impressive technical and scientific expertise, along with its commitment to improving the lives of people with cystic fibrosis."
In people with the Delta F508 mutation, a defective protein called CFTR does not fold correctly and is unable to reach the cell surface, where it is needed to help maintain the proper flow of salt and fluids into the airways. As a result, thick secretions form in the airways, leading to serious lung infections and lung damage. Nearly 90 percent of people with CF have at least one copy of the Delta F508 mutation.
The collaboration will focus on identifying therapies that help restore normal function of the defective protein. Pfizer researchers will draw on their leading expertise in developing therapies that help mutated proteins fold and route correctly within the cell.