AstraZeneca and M. D. Anderson Renew Cancer Research Collaboration
Alliance extended for a further five yearsM. D. Anderson News Release 10/29/08
AstraZeneca and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center today announced they have renewed their collaboration to integrate pre-clinical and clinical research with a view to speeding up access to new medicines of potential benefit to cancer patients.
The collaboration facilitates interactions between physicians and scientists in both organizations to combine resources and expertise in disease intervention while providing flexibility to work in a variety of ways and accelerate the development of new treatments. It is unusual in its focus on pre-clinical research and the transition to clinical trials and was the first of its kind for both institutions.
Since its launch in 2005, the collaboration has utilized AstraZeneca's early development portfolio to generate over two dozen joint research projects. Both parties intend to build on these by extending the collaboration for a further five years and broadening its original focus from aerodigestive diseases (throat cancers and lung cancer) to include targets with potential in a variety of cancer settings.1
Brent Vose, Vice President of AstraZeneca's Oncology Therapy Area said: "AstraZeneca is committed to the research and development of new, targeted anti-cancer therapies to improve the lives of cancer patients.
"We have a number of promising compounds in development and look forward to seeing the results of some key studies throughout the next year.
"Our collaboration with M. D. Anderson has proven our ability to speed up the drug development process without compromising quality and we look forward to building on our joint efforts to date."
Close cooperation in areas of common interest is essential to meet the challenge of safe, accelerated drug development, according to Robert C. Bast Jr., M.D., Vice President for Translational Research at M. D. Anderson, who said: "Earlier access to drugs destined for the clinic has permitted the identification of biomarkers and combinations with existing agents that will permit individualization of cancer treatment.
"In an atmosphere of trust and collaboration, it has been possible to eliminate unnecessary delays in moving drugs into the clinic. In one case, we reduced the time to initiate a Phase I clinical trial by 3 months, while fully meeting regulatory requirements.2
"For patients with cancer, delays are unacceptable. We look forward to continuing our relationship with AstraZeneca to make even more rapid progress in evaluating drugs that are likely to benefit our patients."
AstraZeneca's collaboration with M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has formed the benchmark for a number of subsequent collaborations with institutions in the USA, Europe and Asia. Similarly, M. D. Anderson has since entered into alliance relationships with other pharmaceutical and biotech companies and modelled those after the AstraZeneca agreement.
While the specific terms of the renewed collaboration remain confidential, it covers the sharing of intellectual property, M. D. Anderson's rights to publish research results and funding commitments by AstraZeneca. 10/29/08
Notes to Editors:
1 Examples include projects designed to discover novel cancer targets that synergize with drugs that modulate key cancer pathways, novel methods to evaluate and utilize circulating tumor cells in lung cancer, identification and validation of circulating biomarkers of drug action and positioning of drugs within different segments of lung cancer.
2 Phase I trial of AZD8330 commenced two days after receiving FDA approval.