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Pfizer and Gero collaborate on fibrotic disease research

The companies will use data to identify genes and pathways linked to fibrotic diseases


Pfizer and longevity biotech Gero have entered into a research collaboration to discover potential targets for fibrotic diseases.

As part of the collaboration, the companies will utilise Gero’s machine-learning technology platform to identify genes and pathways linked to fibrotic diseases using large-scale human-based data.

Pfizer may advance the potential therapeutic targets and would be responsible for further preclinical and clinical development.

In exchange, Gero will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive discovery milestone payments if the project progresses.

“Human data-driven drug discovery avoids the ‘preclinical trap’ and has the potential to identify clinically relevant targets against human (not rodent) diseases. However, genetics-based target identification against age-related diseases is hindered by the irreversible component of human ageing,” explained Peter Fedichev, chief executive officer of Gero.

He continued: “Our technology platform allows us to separate irreversible effects of ageing from reversible disease phenotypes to potentially identify the most actionable therapeutic targets.”

Gero applies machine-learning algorithms to build clinically relevant disease progression models in real-world human data and identify clusters of diseases with shared biology.

The AI-enhanced genetic study on the phenotypes together with whole-exome sequencing data then reveals novel therapeutic targets potentially applicable to several indications simultaneously.

Alex Kadet, chief business officer of Gero, said: “We are excited to work with Pfizer to potentially identify targets against fibrotic diseases, which have a large unmet need.

“We believe that combining our platform technology with Pfizer’s extensive disease expertise has the potential to identify high-value targets in this disease area.”

In December 2022, Pfizer launched a new company with Roivant Sciences to develop RVT-3101 for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.

RVT-3101, which was originally developed by Pfizer, targets both inflammatory and fibrotic pathways by inhibiting TL1A, which has been shown to modulate the location and severity of inflammation and fibrosis.

The candidate has already been evaluated in an earlier phase 2 study and is currently being evaluated in a large global phase 2b study in 245 adult participants with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC).

The new company, which has been created to develop these programmes, will be fully responsible for funding global development of RVT-3101 in UC and in additional inflammatory and fibrotic diseases and holds commercial rights in the US and Japan.

Pfizer will hold a 25% stake in the new business and will maintain commercial rights outside the US and Japan.

Article by
Emily Kimber

10th January 2023

From: Research



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