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AstraZeneca expands R&D partnership efforts with new Integration Office

New function will be led by Dr Anders Ekblom, whose previous role is filled by Pfizer's Dr Briggs Morrison

AstraZeneca (AZ) has set up a new team within its R&D division and tasked it with striking partnership deals with leading public and private bodies.

The company said work by the Science and Technology Integration Office would “drive its future ability to innovate and succeed as an R&D-based organisation”.

AZ named the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and the FDA's Critical Path Initiative as the kind of partners it wants the Office to work with, and the company has appointed one of its most senior R&D executives to lead the new team.

Dr Anders Ekblom was formerly executive vice president of Global Medicines Development (GMD), he also served - and will continue to serve - as CEO of AstraZeneca Sweden.

His new team's tasks include identifying and capitalising on future science and technology trends and strengthening AZ's efforts in pre-competitive collaboration and open innovation.

To fill Dr Ekblom's former role of executive vice president of GMD, AZ has recruited Dr Briggs Morrison, who joins the company from Pfizer.


AstraZeneca - Briggs MorrisonAstraZeneca - Anders Ekblom
Dr Briggs Morrison and Dr Anders Ekblom


Reporting to AZ's president of R&D Dr Martin Mackay, Dr Morrison will lead GMD to drive the progress of medicines from early development through to approval and beyond.

Dr Mackay said: “In times of increasing external and internal challenges for the pharmaceutical industry, it is crucial we continue to broaden and deepen our leadership, expertise and stakeholder networking to continue to deliver innovative, effective and cost efficient medicines to patients.

“The appointments of Drs Morrison and Ekblom will ensure we leverage our leadership to the fullest advantage of the business, our people and stakeholders.”

Dr Morrison joined Pfizer in 2007 as chief of clinical development – a role in which he previously reported to Dr Mackay until he also moved from Pfizer to AZ. Prior to that Dr Morrison served at Merck & Co as senior vice president of research.

In his new role at AZ the heads of existing GMD functions, including the chief medical officer, clinical development, Japan R&D, payer evidence and pharmaceutical development, will report to him.

12th January 2012


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