Ziarco Launches With Pfizer Allergy Assets | November 12, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 46 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 46 | p. 7 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 12, 2012

Ziarco Launches With Pfizer Allergy Assets

Small firm is the latest start-up to emerge from shuttered Sandwich, U.K., site
Department: Business
Keywords: pharmaceuticals, start-ups, Sandwich, biotech, allergy

Small companies continue to emerge from the ashes of Pfizer’s storied Sandwich, England, research site, which the company earmarked for closure in February 2011. Last week brought the launch of Ziarco, a biotech company formed to develop a handful of allergy and inflammatory compounds discovered at the Sandwich labs.

Ziarco has raised $27 million in a funding round that was led by Biotechnology Value Fund and included Pfizer Venture Investments. Ziarco hits the ground running with former Pfizer compounds in various stages of early development. They include ZPL-3893787, a histamine H4 receptor antagonist that has completed a Phase I study, and ZPL-5212372, a cPLA2 inhibitor with safety data for an inhaled formulation. In return for rights to the assets, Pfizer gets a stake in Ziarco and will see milestone payments and royalties on products that reach the market.

A number of important Pfizer products, including the blood pressure pill Norvasc and the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, were invented at the Sandwich site, which employed some 2,400 Pfizer workers. In August, a consortium called Discovery Park bought the campus, which currently employs 900 people in a range of companies, including some started by former Pfizer employees. At least a dozen contract research and consulting firms have sprung up at or near the site in the past 18 months (C&EN, July 23, page 16).

Ziarco will not have its own labs, opting instead to cultivate its assets with a network of contract research organizations and consultants, including former Pfizer colleagues, says Steve Liu, the firm’s chief scientific officer. Its first priority, he says, is to get ZPL-3893787 ready for a Phase II study.

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