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AZ and Redx collaborate on genetics of cancer

Research will take place at Alderley Park site
AZ Redx Alderley Park

Alderley Park, Cheshire

AstraZeneca (AZ) is to work with UK biotech Redx Pharma to research the genetic drivers of cancer.

The deal, which is the latest in a line of recent cancer collaborations set up by AZ, will see Redx' scientists team up with AZ's Oncology Innovative Medicines group to discover and develop molecules that target the genetic mutations behind the growth of tumours.

Redx will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, as well as milestones, while AZ will have sole rights to develop and commercialise any potential cancer treatment to emerge from the collaboration.

The two companies are no strangers as Redx was one of the first life science firms to set up at AZ's old site in Alderley Park, Cheshire in the UK after the company's decision to move the bulk of its research and manufacturing operations to Cambridge, UK.

AZ still has operations in the area, however, and in November last year invested £120m in a new production facility in nearby Macclesfield.

Research conducted as part of this collaboration will take place both in Alderley Park and at Redx' facility in Liverpool, UK.

Susan Galbraith, head of AZ's oncology research operations, said: “This collaboration demonstrates the value of the BioHub and the open, collaborative environment that has been created at Alderley Park.

“It also illustrates AstraZeneca's continued commitment to supporting science in the UK, building on our many existing collaborations with organisations across academia and industry.”

Researching the genetic reasons for the development of cancer to create targeted personalised medicines is a major part of AZ's oncology business, as discussed by Galbraith in a recent interview with PMLiVE.

The company's leading personalised cancer drug is Iressa (gefitinib), which is approved to treat people with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a genetic mutation that make a protein called epidermal-growth-factor receptor (EGFR).

AZ is investing heavily in the area though and has existing research collaborations with Horizon Discovery, Moderna Therapeutics, Bind Therapeutics and Cancer Research UK.

The company also recently announced a partnership with gene sequencing specialist Illumina and two other pharma companies – Sanofi and Janssen – to develop a universal diagnostics tool for cancer to support the use of personalised medicines.

As for Redx, the company has interests in both oncology and in infectious diseases and has an existing cancer collaboration with Pierre Fabre Laboratories. Redx also announced this week that former Bayer executive VP Dr Frank Armstrong is to join the company as non-executive chairman.

Article by
Thomas Meek

4th September 2014

From: Research

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