US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has announced the creation of a new research and development (R&D) facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The 280,000 sq ft hub in Kendall Square brings together staff from three area locations and positions Pfizer closer to academic institutions, hospitals and patient organisations. It is being leased from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Pfizer scientists at the new centre are to work on clinical programmes across several therapeutic areas, including inflammation, immunology, rare disease, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and neuroscience.
Mikael Dolsten, president of worldwide research and development at Pfizer, said: "Having all of our Cambridge-area researchers working closely together ... will allow us to continue our efforts to grow our external collaborations and has the potential to help speed the translation of scientific knowledge into potential medical breakthroughs across areas of unmet need such as lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease."
MIT President Dr L Rafael Reif said having the team of Pfizer scientists in close proximity to MIT would help to develop solutions to urgent health challenges.
The state is also home to Pfizer's research and manufacturing site in Andover and is the global headquarters for Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) in Boston.
CTI's model is designed to build an innovative network for drug discovery, aiming to bring new, targeted therapies to patients quickly.
Pfizer has also announced the submission of a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for bivalent recombinant LP2086 (rLP2086). This is a vaccine candidate for the prevention of invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B in ten to 25 year olds.
There is currently no meningococcal B vaccine approved for use in the United States and between ten and 15 per cent of patients diagnosed with the disease die, while those that survive are often left with disabilities.
The FDA has a 60-day filing review period in which to ascertain whether the BLA is complete and acceptable for filing.