The Francis Crick Institute has signed a new research agreement with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The five-year initiative will see researchers from AstraZeneca and the Crick collaborate on early-stage research that could translate into new treatments and health innovations in the future.
The combination of AstraZeneca's expertise in developing new medicines and the Crick's strength in discovery science will maximize the potential to make breakthroughs neither partner could alone. The joint goal is to stimulate and accelerate basic research into the understanding of human health across a range of cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
The open science agreement will see a research fund established to support Crick researchers in projects at an early, 'pre-competitive' stage of development - both those focused on core discoveries and those that are moving further towards development. The fund will include contributions from AstraZeneca, Cancer Research UK and money from an existing Medical Research Council translational research award to the Crick.
The new partnership will also offer Crick researchers access to AstraZeneca compounds and a range of technology platforms. Crick projects that receive funding through the partnership could see scientists from AstraZeneca join the team at the Crick and vice versa. Knowledge exchange between participants will be at the heart of the collaboration, and it will create opportunities for postdoctoral researchers in both industry and academia to learn from each other.
Accelerating translation for health and wealth is one of the Crick's strategic priorities and this new agreement with AstraZeneca reflects that goal.
Veronique Birault, Head of Translation at the Francis Crick Institute, said: "Our new collaboration with AstraZeneca will add to the emerging culture of innovation and knowledge exchange between academia and industry fostered in our labs. It is a significant step in the Crick's approach to close distance translation and another of the ways we can make the most of the research and ideas Crick scientists explore every day."
The flexibility of the agreement means there is potential for scientists from all spheres of the Crick's research activity to participate, whether they focus on a basic research problem or already have an idea that may have a more direct application to improve human health.
The partnership will be overseen by a joint steering committee and research results will be shared in joint publications.
Mike Snowden, Vice President Discovery Sciences, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit at AstraZeneca, said: "Open collaboration and scientific exchange are at the heart of AstraZeneca's innovation-led strategy. With the move to our new headquarters in Cambridge, our scientists are now just a short train ride away from the Francis Crick Institute at St Pancras in London. This close proximity provides an exciting opportunity for us to rapidly share knowledge and resources and for scientists from AstraZeneca and the Crick to easily exchange ideas and expertise for the benefit of patients."