London: Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Monday it would share chemical compounds with the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) to help identify potential new treatments for serious diseases.
The tie-up fits into AstraZeneca’s strategy of scaling back its own drug discovery research in certain areas to cut costs and focus research and development efforts. AstraZeneca said MRC Technology, the commercial arm of the MRC, would screen up to 150,000 compounds, made up of 100,000 from AstraZeneca’s collection and about 50,000 from the MRC library, against selected biological targets.
Initial screening would be in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular, neuroscience and infection, the drugmaker said.
Both companies would retain ownership of their respective compounds, it said, and a joint committee would review the results and decide how to go ahead with any compounds that showed promise as potential drug candidates.
“As part of our increasing drive to access innovation from external sources, there’s real value in collaborating with organisations such as MRC Technology with a track record of success in biomedical research including new areas of disease biology,” said Jin Li, director global compound sciences at AstraZeneca.
“This collaboration gives us early access to new disease understanding and related novel drug targets, allowing us to broaden the scope and choice of programmes we take forward.”