Pfizer launches cardiovascular research competition
Pfizer is funding a new competitive grants programme to support research projects in the burgeoning, competitive area of cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitors.
The programme will fund multiple grants of up to $100,000 each to support studies into the role the PCSK9 protein plays in cardiovascular disease. Grantees will be selected through a competitive application process overseen by an independent review committee.
“[This is] one of the most exciting new areas for scientific exploration in cardiovascular disease,” says Professor John Chapman, who will chair the review committee. “It is our earnest desire that the research projects selected will advance the current understanding of PCSK9 biology and contribute significantly to the next generation of potential therapies targeted to cardiovascular diseases.”
The committee is particularly interested in applications from emerging researchers at assistant professor level or equivalent. Areas of study they are looking for include: the role of PCSK9 in lipoprotein (a) metabolism; non-lipid/lipoprotein effects of PCSK9; PCSK9 and the immune system; PCSK9 and infectious disease; and identifying the unmet needs in high risk secondary/primary prevention patients that may be addressed by these drugs.
PCSK9 inhibitors are aimed at people with high cholesterol who are unable to take the standard statin treatment. They are predicted to be strong sellers, and several pharma firms are racing to be the first to market such a drug.
Amgen and Astellas have already filed their biologic offering evolocumab, while Sanofi/Regeneron’s competitor drug alirocumab is in Phase III trials. Both of these drugs have been found to be more effective in high-risk patients than statins. Pfizer’s own bococizumab is also currently undergoing Phase III trials.
These drugs bind to the protein and prevent it from blocking LDL receptors. This allows the receptors to remove more LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.
The application submission period for Pfizer’s grant ends 28 May this year.
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