Mexican R&D Contributes to Innovative DrugsWed, 09/07/2016 - 15:41
Q: What is the distribution of output from your Toluca plant in terms of therapeutic areas and is there one particular sector you would like to focus on, such as vaccines or infectious diseases?
A: Overall, 45.5 million units from the plant are destined for the internal market and 16.5 million units are exported. Of that, our pharmaceutical products include oral solids, liquids, non sterile semisolids, including vitamins, and a 13-valent vaccine. The therapeutic areas we work in are: biosimilars, cardiovascular, immunology, infectious diseases, inflammation and pain, metabolic diseases, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases, vaccines and internal medicine.
Q: Globally, Pfizer has said it devotes around 18 percent of revenues to R&D. Is that percentage being reproduced in Mexico, taking advantage of the friendlier regulations toward clinical trials in the country?
A: In Mexico investment in R&D has risen to MX$288 million (US$15.3 million) in clinical research. To maximize new research opportunities in biopharmaceuticals, Pfizer has two R&D departments: pharmatherapeutics, centered on the discovery of small molecules and related modalities, and biotherpauetics, centered on big molecule research, including vaccines.
Responding to global needs, at Pfizer we are working on a new model to undertake the clinical research necessary for our medicine, which implies collaborating with strategic partners known as clinical research organizations who are now responsible for the clinical trials we are conducting.
Q: How has this area progressed in the country since the 68 active research protocols you reported in 2013?
A: We have 70 clinical trials underway and 842 randomized patients in different therapeutic areas such as biosimilars, cardiovascular, immunology, infectious diseases, inflammation and pain, metabolic diseases, neuroscience, oncology, rare diseases, vaccines and internal medicine.
Q: Are there any new investments planned in the country to increase capacity or to diversify the products offered by the company?
A: Annually, Pfizer invests around 17.8 percent of its income in research to develop the cure of the future. In Mexico, US$16 million is invested every year. For Pfizer it is important to work for the benefit of patients and their health to improve their quality of life. With 65 years in Mexico, Pfizer is working to strengthen its portfolio to offer our country an alternative therapy for metastatic breast cancer. This has been shown to control the progress of the condition and made therapies less invasive, which is reflected in a better quality of life and care for the illness.
Q: Recently Pfizer Mexico published a press release discussing the large increase of GIST cancer diagnoses in Mexico. Is the company aiming to dip its feet into diagnostics technology, such as helping with the detection of the KIT gene receptor mutation?
A: We are working with civil organizations and we are interested in all that is related to illness to find better options of treatment through innovation. Due to Pfizer’s research, we have developed a treatment for patients with this type of tumor, which brings hope for the fight against this illness.
Q: What other areas of the chronic disease spectrum is Pfizer looking at from a business perspective?
A: Pfizer is developing therapies for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and other rare diseases, including Gaucher disease, hemophilia and mucopolysccharidosis. We also work on the most important diseases in the country such as systemic arterial hypertension.
Q: Is cardiovascular disease, which is among the two main causes of illness in Mexico along with diabetes, a priority for Pfizer?
A:Cardiovasculardiseasescanbeasymptomaticin initial phases so patients need strategies for early detection and handling of risk factors and consequently morbidity and mortality caused by disease. Over the past few years, Pfizer has been working on therapies that significantly improve the quality of life of patients with cardiovascular conditions.