Pharmacy School, Pfizer Create Strategic Alliance

Effort will foster education, research in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: February 9, 2006 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences today announced a strategic alliance with Pfizer, Inc., that will provide up to $7.5 million to develop at UB a Center of Excellence in Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics and to support training and research in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Pfizer will provide the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences with $1.5 million per year for three years, with possible renewal for an additional two years, to hire new faculty members, increase doctoral student enrollment, expand the school's postdoctoral fellowship program and support performance of cutting-edge research in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

With a 2005 R&D budget of $7.6 billion, Pfizer Global Research and Development, the research division of Pfizer, Inc., is the world's largest, privately funded biomedical research organization.

Pharmacokinetics is the study of how drugs are distributed and eliminated by the body, while pharmacodynamics examines the nature of physiological responses to drugs.

"Forging this strategic partnership with Pfizer represents a unique and timely opportunity for UB to further our research and training in the fields of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics," said UB President John B. Simpson.

"We're deeply grateful for Pfizer's support, both for its recognition of the significance and scope of UB's leadership in the pharmaceutical sciences, and for its commitment to working in partnership with our university to train the scientists whose research and discoveries will expand the boundaries of these fields.

"That objective is key to achieving our mission to provide innovative leadership in research and discoveries that benefit the communities we serve, regionally as well as globally," Simpson added. "As we pursue that mission, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with one of the world's most prominent leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, and we look forward to working in tandem with Pfizer to yield improved approaches to drug development, therapy and response."

Liam Ratcliffe, M.D., senior vice president, Pfizer Global Research and Development, noted, "We are delighted to establish this collaboration with one of the world's leading academic centers in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

"It creates a tremendous opportunity for UB and Pfizer scientists to advance the scientific understanding of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and the application of innovative techniques in developing important new medicines with greater speed and precision," Ratcliffe said. "We are pleased that this collaboration also will support educational programs at the University at Buffalo and create new opportunities for the training of scientists in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics."

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds noted that the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences "has performed pioneering, breakthrough research thanks to excellent faculty, facilities and students. This is one of hopefully many partnerships resulting from our federal investment in the university. Pfizer now has recognized what we long ago envisioned: the research being done at UB has the potential to provide life-saving medicine for millions of Americans. This is exactly the type of strategic relationship that will make Western New York's economy strong and innovative."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton noted that "Western New York already is realizing its potential as a center for cutting-edge research in life sciences and medical technology. This collaboration represents an important investment in a critical area of science -- helping to solve problems in drug therapy and ultimately benefiting patients worldwide.

"The partnership also brings the promise of even more research dollars and accolades for the work being done in the region," said Clinton, who last year hosted UB, Pfizer and others at a conference in Buffalo to showcase the local medical technology industry. "This is precisely the type of partnership that we envisioned when we held the Life Sciences Conference in Buffalo last year and I congratulate UB and Pfizer for continuing to invest in Western New York's economic future."

Wayne K. Anderson, Ph.D., dean of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, "Pfizer's choice of the university as its partner in this initiative underscores the company's belief in the pharmaceutical sciences at UB and in the university as a top-tier research institution.

"UB's strong partnership with Pfizer is built on the success of many pharmaceutical sciences graduates within their organization," Anderson said. "We are one of the nation's top pharmacy schools, and Pfizer considered the quality of science that we produce to be a driving factor in creating this strategic alliance. This partnership will enable us to play an even larger role as a leading source of research and training in pharmaceutical sciences."

Anderson added that "designation as a center of excellence not only will confirm the school's recognized premier status in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, but will add international attention to its extensive training and research programs in critical areas of assessing and developing safe and effective drugs.

"In the long-term, this center will offer Buffalo Niagara significant opportunities for economic development because investors are attracted to areas where technology and human resources are available," he added.

Anderson credited the efforts of William J. Jusko, Ph.D., professor and chair of the school's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Lisa J. Benincosa, Ph.D. '93, executive director of clinical pharmacology at Pfizer, for envisioning and organizing the new center and the alliance.

Jusko, a pioneer in the fields of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics who is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, said the alliance will allow the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the pharmacy school to continue producing top-notch graduates who are actively recruited by industry and academia. UB has more than 50 alumni who have risen to key positions at Pfizer, ranging from research division leaders to vice president.

"We're considered a relatively small department and the new alliance will allow us to expand in numbers of faculty members and trainees," Jusko explained. "Pfizer's magnanimous gesture will increase our numbers of graduates, in addition to promoting the need for more training in the critical fields of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics."

The alliance with Pfizer will allow the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to hire two tenure-track faculty members, solidifies support for two research faculty members and adds at least two post-doctoral trainees and six graduate students per year. It also will provide $300,000 for new equipment.

Anderson noted that "it is critical that new faculty be given adequate resources to initiate a robust research program and this is supported through our alliance with the Pfizer."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.

Pfizer, Inc., discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and animals and many of the world's best-known consumer brands. Its innovative, value-added products improve the quality of life of people around the world and help them enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives. The company has three business segments: health care, animal health and consumer health care. Its products are available in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit