The University of Manchester and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca have signed an agreement to enhance each organisation's research into diseases such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and diabetes and obesity.
The agreement sets out how the University and AstraZeneca will work together to identify new ways to treat disease and to nurture and enhance discovery, pre-clinical and clinical research in a bid to better understand a variety of conditions. Under the agreement the University and AstraZeneca will exchange staff, share facilities and encourage joint ventures through long-term funded collaborations.
The parties will also focus on enabling technologies such as imaging, informatics and chemistry that have the potential to identify and accelerate drug discovery in a number of different disease areas.
The agreement formalises previous close contacts between the parties such as the appointment of Professor Hans Westerhoff as AstraZeneca Professor of Systems Biology and the development of collaborative science networks.
A key component of the agreement is the shared benefits that will accrue to the parties, including: the faster translation of high-impact science to the clinic and joint efforts to secure the UK science base.
An early example of the collaborative approach has been the establishment of a joint cancer alliance steering group focusing on translational science in the areas of cancer imaging, serological biomarkers of cancer and Phase I cancer clinical trials between AstraZeneca and the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. Early successes from this group include the establishment of a biomarkers network to share expertise between the two parties, a £1.25m project over three years focusing on serological markers of cancer; and pre-clinical and clinical fellowships in cancer imaging.
Professor Alan North, University of Manchester Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "Teaming up with a company like AstraZeneca will increase our ability to attract the very best researchers, while providing AstraZeneca with access to new technologies, disease models and a large patient research base. The focus that working with AstraZeneca has brought has already helped us to understand how more than 40 individual academics in diverse areas across the University could be grouped together to provide insights into inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis research."
Dr Les Hughes, Global Vice-President, Cancer and Infection, at AstraZeneca, said: "The University of Manchester is the UK's largest traditional university and has an impressive track record of research in the fields of Physical and Biomedical Science. This alliance will pool areas of expertise within our respective organisations to further our shared goals of delivering safe and effective medicines to the patients who need them."
The University of Manchester was formed on October 1st 2004 by the fusion of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and the Victoria University of Manchester (VUM). The resulting institution is one of Europe's leading higher-education institutions with an unrivalled quality, breadth and volume of research activity. Historically, no fewer than 23 former staff and students have gone on to become Nobel Prize winners. There are more than 50 specialist research centres and groups at the University, each undertaking pioneering research into areas ranging from cancer and arthritis to bioinformatics and imaging analysis.
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $23.95 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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