In an exciting new collaboration between academia and industry, Pfizer has granted scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis access to information regarding more than 500 pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical candidates.

The partnership, which will focus on discovering new uses for existing compounds, includes $22.5m from Pfizer on top of access to the research data on Pfizer pharmaceutical candidates that are currently or were formerly in clinical testing.

Pfizer’s indications discovery unit chief scientific officer, Don Frail, said that the majority of candidates tested in development do not give the desired result, yet those drugs that do succeed typically have multiple uses.

“By harnessing the scientific expertise at this center, the collaboration seeks to discover entirely new uses for these that might otherwise be left undiscovered,” Frail said.

According to Pfizer, by sharing data on existing compounds, researchers will not have to replicate extensive preclinical studies, thereby shaving years off the time it takes to evaluate new uses for existing drugs.

To encourage the exchange of ideas, Pfizer’s indications discovery unit has developed an online portal through which certain Washington University investigators will have access.

To facilitate the collaboration, Pfizer’s indications discovery unit is moving its laboratories from Chesterfield, Mo., in suburban St. Louis, to the Center of Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange biosciences district (CORTEX) in St. Louis.