12:00 AM
Apr 17, 2014
 |  BC Innovations  |  Translation in Brief

Translational tidbits

AstraZeneca plc had a busy March, announcing five new public-private partnerships and the launch of its Open Innovation website to list additional partnership opportunities (see "Selected public-private partnerships for March 2014").

One of the public-private partnerships (PPPs) was a five-year alliance with the U.K.'s Medical Research Council (MRC) to give academic researchers access to more than two million of the pharma's molecules.

MRC will select and fund up to 15 screening projects per year. Topics for prospective projects are expected to cover a range of therapeutic areas and diseases and will not be restricted to AstraZeneca's areas of focus-cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, respiratory disorders, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

Project proposals will be sourced from U.K. scientists based at academic or noncommercial research institutions, including MRC. Initial projects may start as early as 2015.

The pharma will have the first option to license rights to any resulting drug discovery programs.

The partners also plan to form the AstraZeneca MRC U.K. Centre for Lead Discovery at the pharma's Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The center is expected to open in 2016.

Financial details were not disclosed.

AstraZeneca and MRC previously partnered in December 2011 to provide academic researchers with MRC grant funding and access to 22 of the pharma's discontinued compounds free of charge to carry out mechanistic studies in new indications.1 MRC awarded ₤7 million ($11.3 million) in funding to 15 research projects in October 2012.

Also in March, AstraZeneca signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute to provide support for 12 early stage translational research projects from Korean oncology investigators.

Scientists will receive research funding from the pharma and will have priority access to a list of its compounds for preclinical evaluation. The investigators also will have access to technological advice and collaboration opportunities with AstraZeneca.

The pharma's Oncology iMed group will review and select four project preproposals by May. Preproposals are abridged proposals that summarize a research project and include project aims, a preliminary budget estimate, expected key deliverables and milestones.

Together with other companies, AstraZeneca also is involved in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)'s GetReal project aimed at helping companies generate real-world data for payers during the drug development process, along with the clinical data necessary for regulatory approval. IMI formally launched the project last month.

GlaxoSmithKline plc and University Medical Center Utrecht are leading GetReal, which has a budget of €16.3 million ($22.7 million), including €8...

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