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AZ opens new research centre with Cancer Research UK

MedImmune partners with CRUK in Cambridge-based R&D hub
CRUK-MEDI Opening ceremony

AstraZeneca has opened new laboratories as part of a collaboration with Cancer Research UK to discover and develop new biologic cancer treatments and diagnostics.

The partnership is intended to combine CRUK's cancer biology expertise with the protein-engineering knowledge and human antibody phage display libraries of AZ's MedImmune arm.

Jane Osbourn, VP of R&D at MedImmune and site leader, described the partnership as “representative of a transparent and collaborative change in small biotech and pharma companies”.

She also confirmed that MedImmune would accept 80 PhD students for training over the next five years.

Phage display was first developed in the 1980s and is a technology that allows researchers to quickly scan through millions of randomly-generated antibodies to find ones that recognise important molecules involved in cancer or other diseases.

Dr Maria Groves, head of the new CRUK-MEDI alliance laboratory, said: “This laboratory's success will depend on three key factors: the application of our high-quality and diverse phage display libraries; designing a drug discovery process that will enable us to find specific potent antibodies with the right mechanism against the disease target, and, finally building a network of principal investigators who will have the opportunity to generate novel ideas for oncology therapeutics.”

CRUK has provided the equipment and operational funding for the laboratory while MedImmune will manage the drug discovery process for accepted projects.

Life sciences minister George Freeman, who officially opened the laboratories at Cambridge's Granta Park yesterday, said: “This pioneering new laboratory in Cambridge highlights the vital role that Cancer Research UK and other charities play in funding exciting medical research which has the potential to help many patients.

“This ambitious project unites academia and industry to translate world-leading research from the laboratory into crucial new treatments for patients.

"The UK is already leading the way in cancer research, and collaborations such as this help to ensure that we convert science into new medicines.”

Article by
Nikhil Patel

11th September 2015

From: Research

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