British bio-pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Thursday announced plans to collaborate with the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) to fund a range of pre-clinical research projects aimed at better understanding the biology of disease.
Projects supported by the fund are likely to involve scientists from the two organisations working side by side, either within the MRC LMB at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the site of the company's future strategic R&D centre and global corporate headquarters, or in AstraZeneca and MedImmune research facilities, the company said in a release.
As part of the planned collaboration, AstraZeneca would contribute up to approximately £6 million ($10 million) and MRC LMB up to approximately £3 million ($5 million) over a period of five years, as well as in-kind scientific input to share knowledge and technologies.
Decisions on which projects will receive support from the fund will be made jointly by MRC LMB and AstraZeneca.
Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of innovative medicines and early development at AstraZeneca, said, ''The aim of this joint fund will be to encourage truly innovative scientific thinking. We want to enable and encourage our scientists to push the boundaries of science, on the door step of our Cambridge headquarters, with one of the best scientific institutes in the world. Collaboration and scientific exchange are at the heart of AstraZeneca's innovation-led strategy, and this new fund will support our researchers to do exactly that.''
Sir Hugh Pelham, director of the MRC LMB, said, "This is a very exciting opportunity, in which AstraZeneca and the MRC LMB would be able to share knowledge and resources to better understand the fundamental processes that underlie normal function and disease. The creation of a joint fund would further strengthen our existing and long standing relationship with AstraZeneca, allowing our scientists to work together, sharing ideas and expertise for the benefit of patients."
Projects supported by the fund would be pre-competitive and would not be specifically targeted towards drug development, but would feed into the existing research and development activities of the two organisations, with the results published in peer reviewed journals.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the world's leading research institutes. Discoveries and inventions developed at the LMB, such as the DNA sequencing and methods to determine the structure of proteins, have revolutionised all areas of biology.