In a ceremony this morning, Pfizer executives, city officials, University President Richard Levin and Provost Andrew Hamilton celebrated the opening of a new Pfizer clinical research unit in New Haven.

The 62,500 square-foot building at 1 Howe Street will be the fourth Pfizer critical research unit, with others located in Ann Arbor, Brussels, and Singapore. The facility will cooperate with Yale Medical School both by offering internships and by providing Yale students and researchers with access to advanced imaging technology.

“If it wasn’t for that ability to partner with [Yale], we wouldn’t be here,” McKennel said.

The research unit will serve as a testing ground for Pfizer drugs at the clinical trial stage, helping doctors chart a given compound’s effects on volunteer patients.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said he hopes the facility will stimulate New Haven’s economy.

“The public sector doesn’t create jobs,” DeStefano said. “That’s not what we do. What we should do, is cause the private sector to create those jobs.”

DeStefano also said he felt Pfizer should do its best to support the New Haven community by helping to improve math and science programs in city schools, and by assisting with the city’s health care program.

Levin said he expected the opening of the facility to mark the beginning of a more positive relationship between business and academia.

“Working closely together, I’m sure we’ll find new and exciting opportunities to advance the cause of science and public health,” Levin said. “We remain keenly interested in bringing industry into collaboration with the academy.”