Pharmaceutical company, university collaborate on drug discovery

01 May, 2015

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and UniQuest have formed an 'open innovation' program to support academic research that holds promise of new therapeutic drugs.

Dr Dean Moss, chief executive officer of UniQuest – The University of Queensland's research commercialisation company – said the agreement would give researchers access to high-quality AstraZeneca compounds to investigate human mechanisms of disease and to explore the development of novel target therapies for areas of high unmet medical need.

"The collaboration will help foster medical innovation by bringing together complementary skills," Dr Moss said.

"UQ brings to the collaboration academic innovators who can accelerate the investigation of therapeutic treatments.

"AstraZeneca brings a proven track record in global drug discovery and development."

Dr Moss said the program would support UniQuest's strategy of fostering research commercialisation through industry engagement.

It was also expected to profoundly improve healthcare and benefit for patients.

"Through the program, AstraZeneca will have the opportunity to deeply engage with UQ researchers and their projects," Dr Moss said.

"This initiative is another important step in the new era of medical discovery via open innovation and public-private collaboration."

"UniQuest is delighted to be partnering with AstraZeneca in this exciting approach towards the development of new treatments for patients and the advancement of medical science in Australia."

Under the program, successful proposals submitted by UQ researchers would be jointly funded by UniQuest and AstraZeneca to investigate human mechanisms of disease and to explore the development of novel therapeutic interventions.

Dr Ajay Gautam, AstraZeneca's executive director, Scientific Partnering and Alliances for Asia Pacific and Emerging Markets, said the program will focus on AstraZeneca's core therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases.

"By giving globally leading academic research institutions such as UQ access to our compounds and expertise, we are opening doors to unexplored areas of pre-clinical and clinical research to help find the next generation of medical breakthroughs," Dr Gautam said.