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Pfizer to join local research cluster

By Bloomberg News
September 2, 2011

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Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drug maker, has signed a 10-year lease with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to nestle researchers in a hub of biopharmaceutical companies that includes those from Genzyme Corp. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The 180,000-square-foot site in Cambridge will house Pfizer’s neuroscience, cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine disease research units, bringing about 400 jobs to the city. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pfizer also has scientific hubs of San Francisco; New York; La Jolla, Calif.; and Cambridge, England. It has partnerships with the University of California San Francisco and New York-area hospitals to work with academics to invent drugs. In June, it announced a $100 million project with Harvard University-affiliated hospitals in Boston.

“Pfizer is trying to get closer to academic medicine and use academic medicine as a discovery engine,’’ said Les Funtleyder, a portfolio manager at Miller Tabak & Co. “These efforts are an attempt to restart R&D productivity. It’s an acknowledgement that the present model isn’t working to its potential.’’

The new site is in Kendall Square. Pfizer plans to move in at the end of 2013.

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