6/15/2012 7:24:01 AM
When Hal Dvorak, a Harvard scientist whose ideas helped spur the advance of targeted cancer drugs, sought a partner recently to help him develop new treatments, he only had to walk two blocks to find one. Pfizer Inc. (PFE), which is spending $100 million to open a state-of-the-art laboratory in Boston, was there. For Dvorak, teaming with Pfizer “is an ideal arrangement,” he said, providing convenience and expertise bringing research into the clinic. Partnerships between industry and academia, of course, aren’t new. Yet Pfizer, Sanofi, Merck & Co. (MRK) and other drug companies are putting a new twist on the arrangement by stepping up their level of collaboration with universities. In the case of Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company is embedding operations in Boston, San Francisco, New York and San Diego, often in the very same buildings where famed academic institutions have labs.