After stepping back, at least temporarily, from pursuing a megamerger with another top drug firm, Pfizer continues to sign smaller deals. The company will pay Belgium’s iTeos Therapeutics $30 million up front and make an equity investment and other payments to license iTeos’s preclinical compounds targeting enzymes that help tumors evade immune responses. Separately, Pfizer is expanding its rare disease R&D activities through gene therapy programs. It has appointed Michael Linden, director of the University College London Gene Therapy Consortium, to lead its gene therapy research. Pfizer will also collaborate with the Philadelphia-based gene therapy firm Spark Therapeutics to move SPK-FIX, which uses a bioengineered viral vector for the treatment of hemophilia B, into the clinic next year. Spark will get $20 million. And Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation will work with NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to transition basic research into clinical applications. The CTI network already includes 25 academic institutions and four patient foundations. NIH intramural researchers will likely be able to apply for CTI partnership opportunities in fiscal 2015.