AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK establish joint lab to develop cancer drugs

26 September 2014

MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca and Cancer Research UK, with its commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), are establishing a joint laboratory in Cambridge, UK to study novel biologic cancer treatments.

The collaboration, which is for an initial five-year period is the first partnership of its kind for both organisations.

As part of the collaboration, scientists from both organisations will work side-by-side on multiple oncology projects at the new CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory. Cancer Research UK, will provide set-up and operational funding for the laboratory and will contribute a portfolio of novel drug targets together with a team of scientists.

MedImmune will oversee the laboratory activities and provide access to its human antibody phage display libraries and established antibody-engineering technologies. The joint team will share knowledge and expertise to discover and develop antibodies to treat cancer.

“Oncology is a core therapeutic area for AstraZeneca and we are pleased to enter this strategic antibody discovery and development collaboration with Cancer Research UK, one of the leading charitable cancer research institutions in the world,” said Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. “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.”

Biological therapies are a major priority in Cancer Research UK’s new research strategy, which includes a commitment to increase investment in this area over the next few years. Collaborations that unite leading researchers together with latest technology platforms are a fundamental part of this strategy, helping turn new discoveries into treatments that can benefit patients as quickly as possible.

“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, MedImmune. “Through this transformative collaboration, Cancer Research UK will have access to MedImmune’s capabilities and technology to help them develop pre-clinical candidates, while MedImmune will benefit from access to Cancer Research UK’s principal investigators and scientists.”

Keith Blundy, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Research Technology, said: “MedImmune is one of Cancer Research UK’s important strategic partners as we seek to advance biologic treatments for cancer. This unique partnership will 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. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists from across the UK will have the opportunity to access this unique lab and expertise. It’s the first of what we hope will be many such pioneering collaborations that will help to accelerate the translation of our research into potential new drugs.”

Source: Cancer Research UK/ AstraZeneca


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