BIO International 2012
AstraZeneca recently attended BIO 2012 Convention – the largest life sciences event in the world. In addition to the various meetings, panel discussions and presentations, AstraZeneca also sponsored a ‘BIO Academic Zone’. This was a pioneering concept at BIO and something AstraZeneca haven’t done before.
The BIO International Convention is recognised as the world’s best meeting point for fostering new business partnerships and it is the world’s biggest convention in any industry. This year AstraZeneca and MedImmune had a record number of partnering meetings at the convention.
AstraZeneca and MedImmune joined panel presentations on topics ranging from Real World Evidence, early stage collaborations and evolving the academic partnership model, to the commercialisation of personalised medicines. Shaun Grady, VP Strategic Partnering and Business Development at AstraZeneca and Atul Saran, VP Business Development, MedImmune also presented an integrated strategy for business development in their company presentations.
Martin Mackay, AstraZeneca R&D President, gave a presentation on the importance of increased collaboration and dialogue across industry, academia and government. He said: "The BIO International Convention is an unbeatable opportunity for us to establish our position as the partner of choice. Not only do we have a track record in effective early-stage collaboration, but we have an exciting R&D strategy with our iMeds that’s proving of significant interest to a variety of biotech companies around the world.”
Shaun Grady, VP and Head of AstraZeneca’s Strategic Partnering and Business Development, said: “There was a terrific buzz about this year’s event. Being the largest life sciences convention in the world, it’s always a dynamic few days but I’ve never seen so much interest in our work and what we can bring to a collaboration. Through the combined presence of our Business Development and R&D teams at the Convention, we were able to bring a vast pool of expertise to all our conversations and exploratory meetings.”
Collaboration news announced from BIO
- AstraZeneca and Rigel announced an exclusive worldwide license for the global development and commercialisation of R256, a pre-clinical small molecule being investigated as a treatment for moderate to severe chronic asthma. R256 has been shown to reduce airway inflammation and improve lung function.
- AstraZeneca also announced during BIO the completion of AstraZeneca’s acquisition of San Diego, California-based biotechnology company, Ardea Biosciences. Ardea focuses on the development of small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases. The acquisition strengthens AstraZeneca’s late-stage pipeline with the addition of lesinurad, a Phase III treatment for the chronic management of hyperuricaemia in patients with gout.
Hosting an Academic Partnering Zone
Over 250 partnering meetings were scheduled in the Academic Zone - not only among the 18 top tier Boston institutions but also including universities from around the world, to showcase this new endeavour. AstraZeneca invited licensing and tech transfer professionals from the academic community to host discussions of “hot topics” in the Zone. In addition, AstraZeneca leaders held “meet and greet” sessions everyday with academics representing Harvard, MIT, The University of Massachusetts, The Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston University and Massachusetts General.
Mene Pangalos, EVP Innovative Medicines said: “While much of our current efforts focus on delivering our late-stage portfolio, we can’t take our eyes off the ball in terms of making our pipeline fully sustainable. Sponsoring the ‘BIO Academic Zone’ highlights how important academic partnering is to AstraZeneca, and to the biopharma industry. Bringing academia together with public and private resources helps drive innovation through basic and applied research.”
AstraZeneca currently has over 1,000 active partners around the world. Shaun commented: “This work is supporting development and future commercialisation of early stage research, crucial alongside today’s drug development challenges. Academic partnering brings new resource as well as a fresh perspective to our innovation – something that is a priority for everyone within healthcare as we realise that we cannot solve all the challenges alone.”