AstraZeneca, together with its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, today announced that it has entered into four new collaborations with the University of Cambridge, building further on their existing partnership. The latest collaborations reinforce AstraZeneca’s commitment to creating a permeable research infrastructure in Cambridge following the company’s decision to locate one of its three global research and development centres and its global headquarters in the city that has been home to MedImmune’s biologics research laboratories for 25 years.
The agreements build on the existing strategic partnership between AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the University of Cambridge, which includes a substantial oncology research programme and co-location of AstraZeneca scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, the largest single facility conducting cancer research in the University of Cambridge. The four agreements involve:
A three-year collaboration between AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the University of Cambridge will focus on advancing research and development in neurodegenerative diseases, an area with a large unmet medical need. Scientists from all three parties will collectively address gaps in drug discovery, translational biomarkers and personalised healthcare approaches for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. The University of Cambridge will contribute world-leading expertise in disease biology, experimental models and tissue samples, while AstraZeneca and MedImmune will provide access to molecular tools, screening capabilities and leading drug development expertise to enable novel target and biomarker discovery and validation. The research will be carried out at MedImmune and the University of Cambridge laboratories, with opportunities for investigators to work alongside each other and share knowledge.
“This strategic partnership will promote an increased understanding of disease mechanisms and enable work in basic neuroscience to address unmet therapeutic needs in a variety of serious neurodegenerative diseases,” said Professor Alastair Compston, Professor of Neurology, speaking on behalf of Cambridge Neuroscience, University of Cambridge. “We look forward to working with scientists from MedImmune and AstraZeneca to increase knowledge on brain function and apply this to common neurological conditions”.
Access to AstraZeneca pipeline compounds
A pivotal Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) will give researchers from the University of Cambridge access to key compounds from AstraZeneca’s pipeline for investigation, such as the EGFR inhibitor AZD9291 for non-small cell lung cancer, olaparib, a PARP inhibitor, AZD2014, an mTOR inhibitor and AZD5363 an AKT inhibitor.
PhD programme to support future leaders in science
The collaboration between MedImmune and the University of Cambridge includes a doctoral training programme whereby PhD candidates will spend significant time at the University of Cambridge and in MedImmune’s laboratories, jointly supervised by the organisations during their four-year studentship.
This programme will offer guidance and mentorship to academic researchers at the University of Cambridge who are considering the broader application and commercial potential of their scientific programmes. MedImmune will provide support and advice on a range of key issues tailored to the individual academic’s needs such as drug and technology development, business planning, intellectual property, market opportunity, partnering approaches and securing investment.
“We are excited to establish this prestigious strategic alliance between AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the University of Cambridge to progress high quality scientific research,” said Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. “We will work together to discover and develop potential new medicines that could have a significant impact on the health of patients with neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.”
“In a world where partnerships and collaborations drive medical innovation, deepening our roots in the vibrant Cambridge life science ecosystem offers compelling advantages for AstraZeneca. These new agreements will not only bring our teams closer to the world-class academic investigators at the University of Cambridge, but will also enable us to actively support the development of the next generation of leading scientists right here in the UK,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of Innovative Medicines & Early Development, AstraZeneca.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the University of Cambridge
The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. To date, 90 affiliates of the University have won the Nobel Prize. Founded in 1209, the University comprises 31 autonomous Colleges, which admit undergraduates and provide small-group tuition, and 150 departments, faculties and institutions.
Cambridge is a global university. Its 19,000 student body includes 3,700 international students from 120 countries. Cambridge researchers collaborate with colleagues worldwide, and the University has established larger-scale partnerships in Asia, Africa and America.
The University sits at the heart of one of the world’s largest technology clusters. The ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ has created 1,500 hi-tech companies, 12 of them valued at over US$1 billion and two at over US$10 billion. Cambridge promotes the interface between academia and business, and has a global reputation for innovation. www.cam.ac.uk
Neuroscience research at Cambridge spans all of the University’s six Schools, with members in over thirty University departments. Neuroscientists at Cambridge have productive affiliations with a number of world-class institutes based in Cambridge, as well as a formidable track record when it comes to linking science and business.
MedImmune is the worldwide biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across key therapeutic areas, including respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; neuroscience; and infection and vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centers. For more information, please visit www.medimmune.com.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com.
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