An external collaboration platform in R&D, education, technology, and government affairs, iDREAM is an AstraZeneca initiative being implemented through local bio-hubs across our Emerging Markets. The initiative was launched in 2018 as part of our ambitious drive to create integrated science ecosystems across our International Region. These bio-hubs improve local capacity for R&D to address local needs and reinforce our commitment to expand the frontiers of science, creating innovative solutions to improve patients’ lives.
In 2018, AstraZeneca launched iDREAM hubs in Russia, Brazil and Taiwan, and in 2019 implemented hubs in China, Argentina and India.
- Russia, July 2018 - We launched our Russia iDREAM biomedical hub in July 2018 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, which focuses on the education of highly-skilled professionals for the pharmaceutical industry, as well as additional joint research activities.
- Since the Russia hub was established, AstraZeneca has run two Start-up Challenge events, in collaboration with Skolkovo, to win a place on its accelerator programme, in which companies get intensive support from AstraZeneca for six months. Two of the Challenge winners also won prizes at the Skolkovo Start-up Village congress for their products: a non-invasive glucometer; and a system of using bio microneedle applicators for the painless transdermal delivery of vaccines and medicine.
- Brazil, August 2018 - We signed an MoU with the Brazilian Israeli Beneficent Society Albert Einstein in August 2018, launching the Brazil iDREAM hub. This collaboration programme focuses on all of AstraZeneca’s therapeutic areas and includes initiatives to foster early- and late-stage clinical development. Through the acceleration of start-ups, and the implementation of educational programmes, we’re supporting innovation and growth for the future.
- One key initiative from the Brazilian hub is a four-way collaborative project, involving AstraZeneca’s local incubator, Eretz Bio, local start-up EpHealth, and Professor Otavio Berwanger, Director of the Research Institute HCor, Heart Hospital. The EpHealth start-up has an online platform, accessible to hundreds of public health agents, for registering and monitoring primary care diseases. Making available the health data of more than two million Brazilian citizens, sampled from across more than 3,000 small cities, this initiative is designed to form the basis of a scientific publication on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Brazilian patients, with the ambition to evolve into a Real-World Evidence database and tool.
- Taiwan, September 2018 - In September 2018, we signed a Letter of Intent with the Taiwanese Government’s flagship biopharmaceutical innovation hub (BioHub Taiwan) launching our Taiwan iDREAM hub. In July 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during the Bio Asia Taiwan Conference in Taipei, formalising our partnership with BioHub Taiwan. The MoU forms the basis of the iDREAM collaboration platform in Taiwan, and the partnership will accelerate innovative science by supporting start-ups and fostering the development of biomedical ecosystems that improve patient care.
- As part of the MoU, AstraZeneca launched an ‘Accelerator Programme’ to support local start-ups and teams to bring their innovations to market and patients faster. Entitled the 2019 NBRP (National Biotechnology Research Park) BioMed Start-up Challenge, AstraZeneca will work closely with the NBRP to provide these start-ups with training and mentorship to uncover the very best local innovative solutions across Oncology, CVRM, and Respiratory therapy areas, and a broader digital health domain.
- China, March 2019 - We signed a MoU with the Wuxi High-tech District at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference to build an International Life Science Innovation Campus (iCampus) in conjunction with the Wuxi municipal government.
- The iCampus creates an innovative incubation platform for domestic and foreign innovation companies, providing companies with shared resources, including laboratories, equipment and services. We leverage AstraZeneca’s global R&D networks, industrial resources and business operation capabilities with cross-border partnership, creating an innovative incubation platform that integrates R&D, incubation, demonstrations and commercial launching, covering the whole life cycle.
- Argentina, April 2019 - We launched the Argentina iDREAM hub in April 2019 with the signing of a Collaboration Agreement with the Argentinian Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation to focus on Precision Medicine, which will help to develop the health environment in Argentina towards the adoption of new paradigm both in diagnosis and treatment, with the objectives of identifying which patients could benefit more from innovation. Several projects are already in progress, including a partnership with the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).
- Following the signing of a second MoU with the National Secretary of Health in August 2019, the next step is to adapt the Genomics and Bioinformatics Platform with the National Administration of Laboratories and Institutes of Health (ANLIS), currently focused on epidemiological vigilance for infectious diseases, for genomic diagnosis in Oncology, associated with a guidelines update and stratified educational plan. By promoting further partnership and collaboration between science and technology developments, and health system adoption of Precision Medicines, we are bringing people together to innovate and promote equity and access in the public sector.
- India, April 2019 - The India iDREAM hub was established in April 2019 as part of the recent expansion of our strategic collaborations to address the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. It complements our strategic partnership with the National Association of Software and Services Companies, enabling us to run an accelerator for health start-ups – further supporting the thriving start-up culture in India.
- We currently have three key projects underway with various external partners: In partnership with Predible, we’re using deep learning and cloud computing solutions to facilitate the early detection of lung cancer. With Jana Care and Cure Fit, we’re integrating a Disease Management Programme to improve patient compliance and outcomes in diabetes. And with Tricog and Ten3t Healthcare, we’re implementing technology-enabled, low-cost interventions across the Acute Coronary Syndrome patients’ journey.