MedImmune and Cancer Research UK establish joint CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory to develop new biologic cancer medicines

Thursday, 25 September 2014

AstraZeneca today announced that MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, and Cancer Research UK, with its commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), have entered into an innovative collaboration to establish a joint laboratory in Cambridge, UK. The new laboratory, representing a first of its kind partnership for both organisations, will focus on the discovery and development of novel biologic cancer treatments over an initial five-year period.

As part of the collaboration, scientists from both organisations will work side-by-side on multiple oncology projects at the new CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory. Cancer Research UK, will provide set-up and operational funding for the laboratory and will contribute a portfolio of novel drug targets together with a team of scientists. MedImmune will oversee the laboratory activities and provide access to its human antibody phage display libraries and established antibody-engineering technologies. The joint team will share knowledge and expertise to discover and develop antibodies to treat cancer.

“Oncology is a core therapeutic area for AstraZeneca and we are pleased to enter this strategic antibody discovery and development collaboration with Cancer Research UK, one of the leading charitable cancer research institutions in the world,” said Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. “Our collaboration represents an innovative public-private business model for biologic drug development as we will share knowledge and expertise in a dedicated laboratory to discover potentially ground-breaking medicines for cancer patients.”

Biological therapies are a major priority in Cancer Research UK’s new research strategy, which includes a commitment to increase investment in this area over the next few years. Collaborations that unite leading researchers together with latest technology platforms are a fundamental part of this strategy, helping turn new discoveries into treatments that can benefit patients as quickly as possible.

“The creation of the CRUK-MEDI Alliance laboratory underscores our strong commitment to building a broad science base across the UK and deepening our research roots here in Cambridge,” said Jane Osbourn, Vice President of R&D and Cambridge Site Leader, MedImmune. “Through this transformative collaboration, Cancer Research UK will have access to MedImmune’s capabilities and technology to help them develop pre-clinical candidates, while MedImmune will benefit from access to Cancer Research UK’s principal investigators and scientists.”

Keith Blundy, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Research Technology, said: “MedImmune is one of Cancer Research UK’s important strategic partners as we seek to advance biologic treatments for cancer. This unique partnership will bring together cutting-edge research with the most advanced antibody technologies industry can offer under one roof, to deliver significant output over a number of years. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists from across the UK will have the opportunity to access this unique lab and expertise. It’s the first of what we hope will be many such pioneering collaborations that will help to accelerate the translation of our research into potential new drugs.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated. Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years. Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1861 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com

About MedImmune

MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across key therapeutic areas, including respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; neuroscience; and infection and vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centers. For more information, please visit www.medimmune.com.

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: www.astrazeneca.com.

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