AstraZeneca and Max Planck Institute announce research agreement to create satellite chemistry unit for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

AstraZeneca today announced an agreement with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (MPI), Germany, to establish a ‘satellite unit’ in cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD), linked to AstraZeneca’s CVMD Innovative Medicines unit (iMed) in Mölndal, Sweden, to study new modalities chemistry.

The new collaboration will see AstraZeneca scientists working side-by-side with researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, in the Department of Chemical Biology, led by Professor Herbert Waldmann. The satellite unit will focus on novel chemistry and chemical biology in areas of new modality chemistry such as stabilised peptides, macrocycles and conjugation chemistry.

Marcus Schindler, Vice President and Head of CVMD iMed, AstraZeneca, said: “I’m very pleased to collaborate with an internationally recognised academic institution such as the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology. Based on our excellent ongoing collaboration with Professor Waldmann’s group and the interdisciplinary Chemical Genomics Centre, we are confident that this innovative new partnership will result in exciting scientific findings, addressing chemical challenges primarily in the field of new modalities.”

Professor Herbert Waldmann, Director of the Department of Chemical Biology, MPI Dortmund, said: “This novel concept for a strategic alliance between an innovation-driven pharmaceutical company and a leading biomedical institute like the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology promises to break new ground for drug discovery. AstraZeneca is one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies and we are pleased and very much looking forward to the collaboration. Uniting our strengths will give rise to novel innovative approaches to drug discovery.”

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases represent one of AstraZeneca’s three core therapeutic areas, with the aim of developing innovative treatments that address the underlying biology to stop, reverse or cure diseases with high unmet medical need. The collaboration with the Max Planck Institute will support identification of new targets in the company’s three areas of research focus in CVMD: cardiac regeneration, islet health (diabetes) and diabetic nephropathy.

In March 2013 AstraZeneca initiated a similar collaboration with the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet that created an Integrated Translational Research Centre (ICMC) for cardiovascular and metabolic disease and regenerative medicine located at Karolinska Institutet’s site in Stockholm, Sweden. The ICMC conducts preclinical and clinical studies aimed at advancing the understanding of cardiovascular and metabolic disease pathophysiology and assessing new drug targets for AstraZeneca’s two biotech units, the iMed and MedImmune.


About Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology

Following its scientific mission, "From molecule to man.", the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund conducts basic biomedical research. At the interface between structural biology, molecular cell biology and chemical biology, the Institute’s scientists pursue interdisciplinary research leading to a unique liaison between chemistry and biology. Identification and synthesis of near-natural active substances enables accurate modulation of intracellular processes to unravel and understand the molecular causes of diseases. For more information, please visit:

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:


Media Enquiries    
Esra Erkal-Paler (UK/Global) +44 20 7604 8030
Vanessa Rhodes
(UK/Global) +44 20 7604 8037
Ayesha Bharmal (UK/Global) +44 20 7604 8034
Jacob Lund (Sweden) +46 8 553 260 20


  • Partnering