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AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) Dips Into Virtual R&D With Korean Oncology Pact


3/10/2014 8:30:37 AM

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AstraZeneca and Korea Health Industry Development Institute to establish oncology research program

LONDON, UK I March 6, 2014 I AstraZeneca announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) to establish an Oncology Research Programme. Under the programme, AstraZeneca will provide support for 12 early-stage translational research projects by Korean investigators’ in the field of oncology – an area of high unmet medical need in Korea. Cancer is a serious disease that is growing rapidly and is the number one cause of death in Korea. The total number of cancer sufferers in Korea almost doubled, to over 218,000 patients, between 2001 and 2011. Through this programme, AstraZeneca and KHIDI aim to contribute to the development of new treatments for Korean cancer patients.

Under the MOU, AstraZeneca in collaboration with KHIDI, will invite early-stage research project applications from oncology investigators based at research hospitals across the country. Proposed topics should be focused on oncology translational research, with pre-proposals submitted via the KHIDI website (www.khidi.or.kr) by 15 April 2014. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

AstraZeneca’s Oncology iMed will review and select four pre-proposals by May 2014. The shortlisted investigators will each receive research funding from AstraZeneca via their respective institutes and gain priority access to a specified list of AstraZeneca compounds for pre-clinical testing, as part of AstraZeneca’s open innovation platform. The successful researchers will also benefit from technological advice, collaboration and networking with AstraZeneca oncology scientists globally.

Keetaig Jung, head of KHIDI, said, “This programme is expected to make a great contribution to enhancing the new drug development capability of Korean investigators, and we hope that this effort of sharing know-how between Korean researchers and AstraZeneca will bear fruit in the form of new drugs that will benefit patients in the future.”

“Open innovation and collaboration is increasingly a way of life at AstraZeneca. We believe that bringing together the ideas of many will help tackle global health challenges and accelerate the delivery of valuable medicines to patients. We already have open innovation collaborations in the US, UK and Taiwan and are excited to now bring this way of working to Korea. We have strong belief in the translational as well as clinical research capability of Korean oncology scientists and are eager to see what they will be able to contribute to this programme,” said Dr. Steve Yang, Head of AstraZeneca’s Asia and Emerging Markets Innovative Medicines group.

Liz Chatwin, Country President of AstraZeneca Korea said, “Cancer is the number one cause of death in Korea and the incidence rate is growing. We hope this program will provide momentum to develop new medicines to help improve the health of cancer patients in the future – both in Korea and globally. As an active partner within Korea’s healthcare community, AstraZeneca is committed to collaborating with Korean researchers from the early stages of the R&D process to support the foundation of Korea’s new medicine research capabilities.”

AstraZeneca was the first multinational pharmaceutical company to sign an MOU with Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) in 2006 for R&D and clinical exchanges. The company has also conducted several activities such as the Virtual Research Institute project in cooperation with KHIDI to support basic research among Korean scientists. In 2011, the company signed a second MOU with MOHW - Partnering with Korea - to continue its long-term partnership with the Korean healthcare community.

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

About KHIDI

KHIDI is a government-funded institution established with an aim to enhance global competitiveness of the healthcare industry and to contribute to the improvement of the public health by fostering and developing the healthcare industry and conducting projects to help improve the healthcare service in a specialized, organized manner. Its activities include planning/evaluation/management of the national healthcare/medical R&D projects, identification of and assistance in attracting investment for competitive technology, support for technology/management of businesses, product (technology) certification, talent cultivation, active support for the government’s establishment and implementation of the healthcare industry development policy, provision of the latest industry trends and useful information, and global marketing and establishment of cooperative network via international offices.

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