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Pfizer plans Asia-specific drugs


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced plans to design a range of drugs tackling diseases in Asia.

Steve Yang, the company’s head of research and development in the region, said the firm was particularly interested in treatments for cancer of the liver, head and neck.

“Prevalence rates for specific types of cancer are significantly higher (in Asia), for example gastric cancer, liver cancer, and head and neck cancer, probably due to factors such as diet, environment and genetics,” he said.

“People often talk about personalised medicine and the challenge and opportunity is for scientists not only to understand the disease at a collective level, but for each different sub-population, whether we can identify specific mutations that are most relevant and then match that with our own drugs.”

While the project, established three years ago in Singapore, is yet to yield a single product, the company is hopeful for the future.

Martin Mackay, Pfizer’s global research and development chief, said: “There are certainly compounds in development. Now that we have that force in Asia, I think it’s going to lead to some profound discoveries.”

An average drug takes between 10 and 15 years to research, design and manufacture. It can cost as much as £660 million to bring the treatment to market.

Copyright Press Association 2010


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