ASTRAZENECA has announced a four-way collaboration which will strengthen the pharmaceutical giant’s link with Cambridge University.
The firm, together with its biologics research and development arm MedImmune, has agreed the new collaboration as it prepares to move its global headquarters to the city. It builds on an existing strategic partnership between the organisations.
“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 at MedImmune.
“We will work together to discover and develop new medicines that could have a significant impact on the health of patients with neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.”
A three-year programme will see AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the university work together on advancing research and development in neurodegenerative diseases. 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.
“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.”
A material transfer agreement has also been agreed, which will give researchers from the university access to key compounds used in the treatment of cancer.
A PhD programme will be set up, where candidates spend time in in MedImmune’s laboratories, as well as at the university, while an entrepreneur in residence scheme will see the firm providing support and advice to academics who want to explore the application and commercial potential of their scientific programmes.
Cambridge has been home to MedImmune’s biologics research laboratories for 25 years. Last year it was announced that AstraZeneca would be moving its global headquarters to Cambridge, as well as opening a new research and development centre. This is expected to be up and running by 2016.
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