The extension sees Pfizer sign a five-year commercial agreement with CytoReason, which involves the former company paying a $90 million (€90 million) fee to gain access to the latter’s artificial intelligence technology. . Pfizer will also make a capital investment of $20 million as part of the deal.
In addition to supporting CytoReason financially, Pfizer also has the option to license the technology platform and disease models, as well as fund additional support for the project.
CytoReason is an Israeli company that uses AI to create disease models for drug discovery and development. It is made up of a mix of biologists, bioinformaticians and data engineers. The platform itself allows companies to prioritize new targets, find biomarkers, and predict which patients may respond best to treatments.
According to the companies, Pfizer has used the platform to better understand R&D programs in 20 disease areas – although the release specifically mentions its use for immune and immuno-oncology purposes.
CytoReason CEO David Harel previously told Outsourcing-Pharma, “CytoReason develops computational disease models that feed on a growing repository of public and proprietary clinical data. Our platform gives different people in the organization – biologists, bioinformaticians, program managers – a place to manage their drug programs and compare them between patients, diseases and other drugs on the market.
An evolving relationship
When the two partners initially signed on to work together in 2019, Pfizer had already been evaluating CytoReason’s capabilities for several months to judge the strength of the offer.
It looks like the collaboration has continued in that vein, with a new extension signed earlier this year ahead of this latest update. When closing the first deal, CytoReason said it would be paid “low double-digit millions,” making the most recently signed deal an upgrade financially.
Pfizer isn’t the only company working with CytoReason, with the tech company saying it works with five of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies.
One such partner is Sanofi, which has enlisted CytoReason to use its AI models to better understand asthma. At the time, the companies announced that the goal of the project was to understand common factors faced by asthma patients in order to identify stable and reproducible endotypes.
Explaining in more detail how the technology company works, Harel told Outsourcing-Pharma, “Our asthma computational model helps identify commonalities across patient subgroups, which will allow pharmaceutical companies to identify appropriate drugs, as well as bringing them closer to precision medicine.