EDMONTON, Alberta/EWORLDWIRE/March 15, 2006 --- NAEJA Pharmaceutical Inc., an Edmonton-based company, is being given the opportunity to help discover the next innovative medicine for pain control after receiving a significant investment from AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) Canada. Under the terms of the deal announced today, AstraZeneca Canada will invest $10.2 million over the three-year partnership that will create 20 new jobs at NAEJA, and focus on accelerating the development of novel pain control compounds.
"Investing in health sciences innovation is the best way to help create a strong, vibrant economy," said Michael Cloutier, president and CEO of AstraZeneca Canada. "NAEJA has extensive research experience, the right qualifications and an excellent track record in delivering results. With this partnership, we’ll be able to bring more innovative medicines to market and improve patient outcomes."
NAEJA is a well-established chemistry contract research company specializing in pre-clinical discovery and development. The company will work with chemists from AstraZeneca's state-of-the-art drug discovery centre in Montreal to identify potential drug candidates in the area of pain management.
"This collaboration further demonstrates NAEJA’s approach and expertise in drug discovery and development," said, Christopher Micetich, president and CEO, NAEJA Pharmaceutical Inc. "We are excited about the possibilities that will come out of our partnership with AstraZeneca and look forward to delivering candidate drugs."
AstraZeneca Canada has invested in a number of research-oriented partnerships with hospitals, universities and companies across Canada, helping to foster a competitive, knowledge-based economy. This includes the establishment of a Research Chair in Asthma at the University of Alberta through a $3 million investment by the company.
"This partnership is an ideal example of how innovation delivers value to the healthcare system and Alberta’s economy," said the Honourable Victor Doerksen, Minister of Innovation and Science. "It recognizes Alberta’s world-class scientific talent, has created new employment and has as its goal discovering new medicines. These are some of the cornerstones of a knowledge-based economy."
AstraZeneca is a leading global pharmaceutical company with an extensive product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology and respiratory. In Canada, AstraZeneca employs approximately 1,400 employees and its headquarters and packaging facilities are located in Mississauga, Ontario. With a state-of-the-art drug discovery centre based in Montreal, AstraZeneca has been recognized as having the best oncology pipeline by R&D Directions magazine.
For more information, visit www.astrazeneca.ca.
NAEJA specializes in pre-clinical drug discovery and contract research in multiple therapeutic areas up to the IND stage for the innovative pharmaceutical industry. The company has 50,000 square feet of world class laboratory facilities with corporate offices in both Edmonton and San Diego. NAEJA employs over 100 leading scientific researchers, 80 of which hold PhDs with expertise in all aspects of drug development including, lead optimization, bio-pharmaceutical profiling, microbiology and custom synthesis. The company has an impressive international life-sciences research clientele combined with a successful record of internally developed products that currently are marketed through global innovative pharmaceutical organizations. NAEJA is a privately held company.
For further information, visit www.naeja.com.
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Sameeh M. Salama Ph.D.
NAEJA Pharmaceutical Inc.
SOURCE: NAEJA Pharmaceutical and AstraZeneca