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Pfizer sponsors re-examination of diabetes and obesity


NEW YORK Pfizer has entered into an agreement with four major research universities—University of California, Santa Barbara; Caltech; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the University of Massachusetts—and the physiological modeling company Entelos, to re-examine the mechanisms of human energy metabolism. Pfizer is funding the three-year and $14 million Insulin Resistance Pathway Project to look at insulin signaling in fat cells to increase understanding of diabetes and obesity.

The first phase of the project will include an examination of insulin signaling in fat cells. Researchers at Pfizer, MIT and the University of Massachusetts will perform data collection and analyses, which will then be fed to the computational groups at MIT, Caltech and the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Frank Doyle, professor of chemical engineering and associate director of the UCSB-MIT-Caltech Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies.

The conditions of the collaboration allow the academic partners to publish and/or patent any discoveries made in the areas of basic biology. If the first phase of the project proves successful, a second, two-year phase will extend these studies to other insulin-sensitive tissues – liver, muscle and possibly hypothalamic or beta cells.

“We are tremendously excited about this partnership as it represents just one of several leading relationships Pfizer has with world-class academic, public-sector and private-sector institutions in areas of emerging science that will help to shape our future in biotherapeutics and bioinnovation,” said Corey Goodman, president of Pfizer’s new Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation division. “We are hopeful that the research gathered from this consortium will provide new targets for this major unmet medical need and, ultimately, provide patients with new, better ways to treat these conditions.”

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