Research & Development

Research partnerships

We are now working more collaboratively than ever with our external stakeholders, as we know that we can’t achieve our goals alone.

Medical Research Council UK

In December 2011 AstraZeneca and the Medical Research Council (MRC) announced a collaboration in which 22 previously studied AstraZeneca compounds were made available to academic researchers. Since then, the MRC and AstraZeneca have announced £7 million funding for 15 research projects involving those compounds. This was recognised and rewarded at the SCRIP Awards in December 2012, receiving the ‘Best Partnership Alliance’.

In March 2014, AstraZeneca and the Medical Research Council (MRC) announced a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at better understanding the mechanisms of human disease. The collaboration will see the creation of a joint research facility at AstraZeneca’s new R&D centre in Cambridge in the UK. The AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for Lead Discovery will sit within the new AstraZeneca site at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, due to be completed in 2016. It will see world class MRC-supported researchers working side by side with scientists in AstraZeneca’s high throughput screening group, identifying new methods to better understand a range of diseases and potential treatment options.

Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Tissue Bank

AstraZeneca and Manchester Cancer Research Centre have worked together to establish the MCRC tissue bank. Five Manchester hospitals now have a standardised approach to collection of tissue, blood and urine, linked with clinical outcome data. Over 1,600 samples have been collected in broad range of tumours, giving opportunities for academia and commercial researchers access to valuable clinical samples.

Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR)

In October 2011 AstraZeneca partnered with the University of Manchester and GSK to create The Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) to address current priorities in inflammatory disease in an open innovation, pre-competitive collaboration between academia and the pharmaceutical industry. This unique joint venture is designed to establish a world-leading translational research centre in the UK for inflammatory diseases which affect the joints, lungs, skin and many other organs in the body.

Cancer Research UK

In April 2014, AstraZeneca, Cancer Research UK and Pfizer announced a partnership to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The trial will give researchers unprecedented access to up to 12 AstraZeneca and MedImmune compounds, and two from Pfizer, allowing several to be tested at the same time. The trial will have a multi-armed design, with around 20 patients given each drug depending on the genetic faults specific to their tumour. Those demonstrating benefit will be fast tracked into larger trials. The ultimate aim of the collaboration is to help establish the framework for how patients will be treated in the UK National Health Service in the future, giving them a considerably higher chance of receiving an effective drug to tackle their cancer.

To succeed now and in the future, we know that we will have to continue investing in our own R&D capability and actively seek strategic partnerships outside our own laboratories. We have more than 200 active partnerships with academic, research-funding and charitable organisations around the UK.

These partnerships are part of our commitment to seeking out the best innovative science, inside and outside our business. We’ve forged some key partnerships in the UK, plus we’re backing the work of external organisations by supporting research into new medicines and their use in patient care.

Globally, recent deals have involved not only in-licensing and acquisitions, but also risk sharing, spin-outs, divestments, out-licensing, fostering and early stage research collaborations. Find out more about these activities at our global website.

Our primary focus is on three important areas of healthcare where there is significant unmet medical need: Cardiovascular disease and Diabetes; Oncology; Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity. We are also active in the Infection, Neuroscience and Gastrointestinal disease areas.