GAITHERSBURG, Md.—MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, today announced it has entered into a three-year collaboration with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The collaboration will focus on CTSI’s Catalyst Awards program, which solicits applications from university scientists who wish to move their translational research beyond the bench and into product development.
This marks the first industrial partnership for CTSI’s Catalyst Awards program’s therapeutic track, which focuses specifically on discovery and development of patient treatment options. The collaboration will benefit both MedImmune’s biologics and AstraZeneca’s small molecule portfolios and will call for proposals in therapeutic areas of interest to MedImmune and AstraZeneca, including cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; neuroscience and infectious disease.
“We at MedImmune and AstraZeneca are committed to working with leading academic institution in areas where we have an R&D presence,” says Dr. Bing Yao, senior vice president and head of MedImmune’s Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Innovative Medicines Unit. Yao explains that geographically the focus will be on Maryland, the location of the company’s headquarters, as well as the San Francisco area and the U.K. where MedImmune also has research facilities. “We have multiple collaborations and they are all unique,” Yao notes. “In some cases we jointly define the scope of the project and work together. In others, one party may start the project with the other following up.”
In the case of UCSF and its CTSI, MedImmune and UCSF will collaborate to move forward the most promising research projects over the next three years with the option to extend the partnership. The collaboration will foster scientific exchange and expertise between UCSF and MedImmune scientists, and support projects that translate research into treatments that improve patient outcomes.
“UCSF’s innovative translational research capabilities combined with MedImmune’s industry experience in this area will help identify and nurture promising early science that can benefit MedImmune, UCSF researchers and ultimately patients,” said Dr. Yao. “We look forward to partnering with leading scientists at UCSF and growing our collective expertise within the Bay Area, one of the top global bioscience hubs.”
June Lee, M.D., FACCP, director of CTSI’s early translational research program, which manages the Catalyst Awards, echoed that sentiment. “This collaboration marks an important first step in cultivating critical industry-academic partnerships in our therapeutics track. Beyond that, it also supports the broader mandate of UCSF and the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards to accelerate research to improve health, for which industry and companies like MedImmune are very important partners.” Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
The Catalyst Awards Program solicits applications from UCSF investigators with compelling translational research findings who wish to move beyond the research bench and into product development; it includes four different tracks of focus, therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health. The Catalyst Awards process includes a review of applications by a panel of more than 120 expert advisors who have specialized experience related to product development and commercialization.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic biomedical, translational and population sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
UCSF is home to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a campus-wide institute that provides infrastructure, services and training to accelerate and support clinical and translational research. UCSF’s CTSI is part of the 60-institution Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) consortium funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH). The CTSA aims to strengthen and support the entire spectrum of translational research from scientific discovery to improved patient care.
MedImmune is the worldwide biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization 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.