The drug companies Pfizer Inc. and Icagen Inc. announced a collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London, to study the structural biology of sodium channels, the molecular gateways that regulate the signals of nerve cells. The three party relationship supports an existing collaboration between Pfizer and Icagen for the discovery of compounds which modulate specific sodium channels as potential treatments for pain and related disorders.
The two companies are teaming up with Professor Bonnie Ann Wallace and her research team in the School of Crystallography.
Gillian Burgess, Pfizer’s Research Head for Pain said, “There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that sodium channels play an important role in certain pain disorders. By combining the scientific expertise of Professor Wallace’s lab with that of Pfizer and Icagen we look forward to making significant advances in this field”.
P. Kay Wagoner, President and CEO of Icagen said, “Professor Wallace is one of the world leaders in the structural biology of ion channels and has particular expertise in structural studies of sodium channels, a gene family that forms the basis of our ongoing collaboration with Pfizer.”
“Molecular biologists, electrophysiologists, computational chemists and structural biologists at Pfizer, Icagen and Birkbeck are combining in a multi-year alliance to gain a greater understanding of the structural biology and function of sodium channels and the interaction of these channels with drug like compounds.”
Wagoner added, “We expect that this collaboration will provide important information that may further accelerate our efforts, together with Pfizer, to advance novel sodium channel modulators into clinical development for the treatment of pain and related disorders.”