AZ and Cancer Research UK set up research lab

A joint laboratory for R&D of biological cancer treatments has been announced by MedImmune, the R&D arm of AstraZeneca (AZ), and Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the technology arm of charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

The new CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory will focus on the discovery and development of biologic cancer treatments over an initial five-year period and will be sited in Cambridge, UK, near AZ’s new headquarters.

Scientists from both organisations will work side-by-side on multiple oncology projects. CRUK sees biologic therapies as a research priority and will provide set-up and operational funding for the lab, a portfolio of novel drug targets and a team of scientists. MedImmune will provide access to its human antibody phage display libraries and established antibody-engineering technologies.

Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune, said, “Our collaboration represents an innovative public-private business model for biologic drug development as we will share knowledge and expertise in a dedicated laboratory to discover potentially ground-breaking medicines for cancer patients.”

“The creation of the CRUK-MEDI Alliance laboratory underscores our strong commitment to building a broad science base across the UK and deepening our research roots here in Cambridge,” said Jane Osbourn, vice president of R&D and Cambridge site leader, for MedImmune.

CRT CEO Keith Blundy, stated that the collaboration would “bring together cutting-edge research with the most advanced antibody technologies industry can offer under one roof, to deliver significant output over a number of years”.

Earlier this year, AZ set up a similar partnership with the UK government-funded centre, the Medical Research Council (MRC), designed to investigate a broad range of therapy areas and diseases.

These moves reflect a growing trend towards greater collaboration and more open innovation between pharma, academic researchers, government and charities.

GlaxoSmithKline is also partnering with the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to create the Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation.


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