Israeli company CytoReason, a developer of computational disease models that assist in the design of drugs by the pharmaceuticals industry, has announced the extension of its collaboration with US drugs giant Pfizer. Pfizer will invest $20 million in CytoReason, and will have options to license CytoReason’s platform and disease models, and fund supplementary project support, in a deal that could be worth up to $110 million over the next five years.
The collaboration between the two companies began in 2019, and since then CytoReason has provided Pfizer with insights relating to the development of drugs for twenty diseases. CytoReason was a partner in projects relating to Covid-19, a field in which Pfizer is a leader both in treatments and vaccinations.
CytoReason co-founder and CEO David Harel told “Globes” that Pfizer was assisted by the company’s insights in deciding for which disease it should start testing a product that seemed relevant to several diseases on the basis of its animal trials. CytoReason predicted for which disease the molecule would be most relevant in human beings.
CytoReason has developed a computerized model of the activity of the human immune system in several different diseases, from the level of the receptors that different drugs could act upon, up to a more holistic view of the immune system. The company was founded on the basis of the research of Prof. Shay Shen-Or of the Technion, who serves as its chief scientist. Since then, it has developed substantially. It currently employs more than 80 people, most of them in Israel, and is in the process of hiring more employees.
CytoReason will use the investment by Pfizer to develop models of additional diseases, to improve the resolution of its existing models, and to examine a range of therapeutic solutions.
The company is based on openly available data, data purchased from various sources, and data from its customers. It continues to prefer developing the products of pharmaceuticals companies and focusing its team on the technology, rather than developing its own product. That way, it hopes to be more focused and more stable. “There are companies in various fields whose entire activity consists of providing services to drug companies, such as Thermo Fisher,” Harel says. Thermo Fisher has a market cap of $212 billion, on a par with the major drug companies. It provides laboratory equipment to drug companies, and in recent years software as well.
CytoReason teams with Pfizer on drug discovery
Harel explained that CytoReason has commercial relationships with dozens of companies, among them some of the world’s leading pharmaceuticals companies. The deals yield “between thousands and several millions of dollars annually”. Tens of millions of dollars have so far been invested in the company’s technology.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on September 20, 2022.
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