ACTRI and Pfizer Announce the Call for Pre-Proposals for Biotherapeutic and Small-Molecule Targets

Deadline for pre-proposals: Friday, October 13, 2017

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and Pfizer's Center for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) are seeking pre-proposals from UC San Diego Health Sciences faculty interested in a drug discovery collaboration with the Pfizer CTI. Proposals are sought for biotherapeutic and small-molecule targets.

Prior to submitting a pre-proposal, investigators may meet with Dr. Mary Faris, director, Partnership & Strategic Alliances, Pfizer CTI, to discuss their projects for suitability for the drug discovery partnership.

CTI Looks for projects geared to drug discovery efforts with the following characteristics:

  • Strong project rationale, demonstrated association between target biology and disease mechanism
  • Novel drug targets with potential to lead to differentiated drugs
  • Link between target pathway and human disease
  • Ability to address unmet medical needs
  • Feasibility: tractable target, potential for discovery/development plan


  • Large Molecules: antibodies, proteins, fusion proteins, antibody conjugates
  • Small Molecules: target classes include kinases, deubiquitinating enzymes, GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, serine hydrolases, and epigenetic targets

Note: RNAi, Crispr technologies, gene therapies, vaccines and nanoparticles are not currently of interest to CTI.

Areas of interest Fall 2017


  • Target/Pathway approaches that promote anti-tumor immune responses whether alone or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors; provide innate anti-tumor immune system activation; reduce or overcome tumor-induced immune suppression; or alter tumor microenvironment metabolism
  • Targets that promote directed tumor cell killing
  • Targets that address EMT, senescence, tumor plasticity, translational stress and protein stability
  • Novel cell-surface targets that enable mAb and Immunotherapy

Inflammation and Immunology:

  • Target/Pathway approaches that provide immune regulation but do not involve broad-based immunosuppression including Adaptive and Innate immunity, Th17 lymphocyte biology, Regulatory cells and Tolerance induction, Immune metabolism with a focus on:
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • NASH
    • Atopic Dermatitis
    • Alopecia
    • Vitiligo
    • Host-microbial interactions and microbiome are of interest with focus on epithelial barrier

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases:

  • Target/Pathway that provide a decrease in hepatic lipid content
  • Inflammation and the development of liver fibrosis in NASH/NAFLD
  • Novel approaches that reduce hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia


  • Primary focus on Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Target/Pathway with disease modifying and symptomatic potential
  • Chronic neuroinflammation mechanisms impacting the pathologies of AD and PD

Rare Diseases:

  • Target/Pathway representing novel therapeutic interventions for:
    • Hematologic (non-malignant), including Haemophilia, sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia
    • Skeletal and cardiac muscle diseases including Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophies
    • Repeat expansion diseases including Huntington’s disease, ALS/FTD and myotonic dystrophy

Investigators who would like to meet with Dr. Faris prior to submitting a proposal should contact Williams S. Ettouati, PharmD, via email and include the project title of of discussion. Dr. Williams will schedule the meeting at Pfizer or at UC San Diego. Below is his full contact information.

Williams S. Ettouati, PharmD
Director, Industrial Relations & Development
Associate Director, Center for Drug Discovery Innovation
Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor, N.S.
University of California San Diego
Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Cell: (858) 699-5489


Please click images below to download relevant documents

CTI Pre-Proposal Template

CTI 2017 Large & Small Molecule Targets Flyer
CTI LargeSmall Flyer Cycle1 2016