Supporting networking and collaboration across the Life Science sector

Our ‘AstraZeneca Exchange: Science and Business Mentoring’ programme connects start-ups and entrepreneurs with AstraZeneca experts within our local life science ecosystems. Through mentoring, our mentors help early-stage businesses to explore and develop their ideas more effectively. The types of mentoring partnerships are diverse, both in time commitment and activities covered.

The programme is active in several of our R&D hubs: Gothenburg, Sweden; Cambridge, UK; Warsaw, Poland; and Waltham and Gaithersburg, US. Local programmes are tailored to the needs of each country and the availability of suitable mentoring expertise. However, the goal remains the same – to leverage the scientific and commercial expertise of our people to support life-science start-ups and entrepreneurs.

We know that innovation doesn’t happen in isolation - if the sector grows, we all grow, and patients benefit.

Cambridge, UK

Building on our 30-year heritage in the city and now with 4,000 employees located in the area, our presence in Cambridge reinforces our deep commitment to the UK and the country’s global importance as a location for life sciences R&D. 

The scale of our collaborations across the Cambridge life sciences ecosystem is significant, with more than 200 collaborations, including more than 130 with the University of Cambridge.  We are working in partnership with the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, Babraham Research Institute, Lucy Cavendish College and a host of other organizations to support the Cambridge life sciences ecosystem. We achieve this through science and business mentoring, participation in panel discussions and start-up pitch competitions, as well as supporting start-up companies as non-executive directors. The opening of our global Discovery Centre (DISC) at the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus represents the next step in building the collaborative and dynamic community and culture we have long been committed to, and which has been the guiding spirit behind our growing presence in Cambridge.

Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg has been home to our global R&D site in West Sweden for more than 50 years with a focus on generating and delivering global impact. The region has more than 480 life science companies, who put Gothenburg on the map as one of the most creative and important places globally for the life sciences.

On our Gothenburg R&D site alone, we have more than 2,600 people from 70+ countries supporting the entire life-cycle of AstraZeneca medicines, from drug discovery and clinical trials, to global commercialisation and product maintenance.

We work with partners to create the right environment for a sustainable ecosystem and culture that supports innovation, business growth and the supply of talent. Through initiatives such as GoCo Health Innovation City, BioVentureHub, Health Works and OligoNova we provide emerging life science companies, academic groups and other health innovators with a unique opportunity to co-locate, co-create and interact with AstraZeneca experts, and with each other, to advance life sciences, healthcare and the wellbeing of patients.

Our goal for AZ Exchange Mentoring in the Nordics is to leverage our scientific and commercial expertise in a business-to-business advisory model via established incubators, and engage around queries identified by the start-up companies connected to these incubators.

Waltham, Massachusetts, US

AZ Exchange-Waltham is designed to proactively mentor startups as a way of giving back to the Boston community. We share our pharma perspectives and insights to enable success of the entrepreneurial, innovation ecosystem. 

We have established partnerships with organisations such as MassBioScience2Startup and the NCI’s SBIR Program. Our growing mentor pool adds significant oncology, marketing, and business development expertise to the global mentor network. To-date, we have advised over 40 startups with tremendous support and positive feedback received from startups, partners, and mentees. ​ 

In 2022, we plan to expand our partnership to Equalize, a virtual mentor programme and pitch competition designed to address the disparity of women academic inventors forming university startups.

Warsaw, Poland

The AstraZeneca Exchange Mentoring programme was launched at our Warsaw site in 2019 as a part of the Warsaw Site Scientific Initiative and capitalises on diverse expertise within our Polish site from over 2,000 employees. We have organised mentoring sessions for academic teams and start-ups with AstraZeneca experts from Poland and other locations. The primary goal is to advise on early science as well as other core business areas. We promote the mentoring programme through a series of interactions, presentations and lectures for universities, scientific institutions and start-ups. One of the core activities of our mentoring programme is collaboration with the Polish Association of Centers for Technology Transfer, whose primary goals are intellectual property protection and management and commercialisation of innovation. This collaboration opened up access for AstraZeneca to more than 70 universities and scientific institutes in Poland. The interest in AstraZeneca Exchange is continuously growing and the scientific community is now amongst the biggest partners of the programme in Poland.

Veeva ID: Z4-43644
Date of preparation: April 2022