AstraZeneca committed to Neuroscience
In this short Q&A with Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice President Innovative Medicines, he re-affirms AstraZeneca’s commitment to Neuroscience research. Menelas talks about the new ‘Virtual’ Neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit (iMed) and what AZ’s new approach to this research can offer.
Is AstraZeneca still engaged in Neuroscience research? If so, to what capacity?
We are deeply committed to Neuroscience research, but we’re taking a new approach. Instead of maintaining our own labs for early discovery and development research, we are creating a ‘Virtual’ Neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit (iMed), from which we will tap into the best available external science while sharing cost, risk and reward with other research partners active in this field.
We plan to bring together the expertise of a concentrated group of Neuroscientists and also build on our existing network of partnerships. Members of the iMed will be based in Boston, US, and Cambridge, UK – but they will work closely with external partners around the world to bring in further innovation and thinking.
Neuroscience research is particularly challenging. What makes AstraZeneca think it will be successful in persuing this?
Yes it has proved challenging and we’ve seen that other companies have pulled out of this area over recent years. Although there is a great deal of risk attached to this research, we believe it is the most exciting - that’s why we’ve worked on a new approach that will bring a wider level of expertise, but with divided cost and risk.
Specifically, what areas of neuroscience will AstraZeneca focus on?
Under this new model, we are opening ourselves up to all areas of neuroscience, including neurology, psychiatry and pain. Investing in science and projects instead of bricks and mortar allows us to pursue opportunities in each of these areas. First we will review the current projects we have in the pipeline and decide what projects will be taken forward. Our virtual iMed will also assess the science that is happening externally and look for additional opportunities to partner with external parties.
How can I learn more about your neuroscience research?
We have recently appointed Dr. Mike Poole, to lead the new iMed and he has already started building his team. We expect the Virtual iMed to be operational towards the end of 2012 and we will make more information available as soon as possible. You can also refer to our Pipeline table, which is updated biannually.