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Rare Disease Consortium

In 2014, Pfizer began a 5 year collaboration with the Global Medical Excellence Cluster (GMEC) to create the Rare Disease Consortium.


There are an estimated 7,000 rare diseases in the world today and counting.1 While these diseases may be individually rare, each affecting less than 0.1% of the population, collectively they are common.2 Today, it is estimated that 3.5 million people in the UK (7% of the population) will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives, which is more than AIDS and cancer combined.3,4 


Yet, developing effective treatments is a significant challenge. Most rare diseases have no approved treatments at all.1

Moreover, conditions are often misdiagnosed due to fragmented knowledge within the medical community and because diseases are often characterised by a broad spectrum of symptoms that vary from disease to disease and patient to patient. This means that some patients may wait many years for a successful diagnosis.5

This is why in 2014, Pfizer began collaborating with the Global Medical Excellence Cluster (GMEC), a group of six leading UK universities, to create the Rare Disease Consortium.

Bringing together the scientific and clinical excellence of the GMEC cluster, and combining this with the discovery and development skills of Pfizer, to potentially accelerate treatment discovery and take a much needed step forward in this unique area of scientific research.

Scientific developments to date combined with the UK’s knowledge, expertise and the Government’s commitment to genomics has created the perfect environment for the Rare Disease Consortium to explore rare disease research.



  1. Last accessed June 2017.
  2. Last accessed June 2017.
  3. Last accessed June 2017.
  4. Last accessed June 2017.
  5. Last accessed June 2017.
PP-PFE-GBR-0646 / Sept 2017