AstraZeneca PLC's MedImmune Will Provide First-Year Funding for Seven NIST Postdoc Scientists in Unique R&D Deal

AstraZeneca's MedImmune Will Provide First-Year Funding for Seven NIST Postdoc Scientists in Unique R&D Deal
February 23, 2015
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – Biopharmaceutical research company MedImmune has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology in a five-year research and development deal to develop new medications or therapies derived from biological, rather than chemical components.

Under the partnership, MedImmune, the biologics research and development arm of U.K.-based AstraZeneca PLC , will provide funding for seven scientists for the first year. The scientists will each work on a joint MedImmune/NIST research project aimed at finding a better understanding of the development of biological and chemical principles in drug development and create new measurement tools to “facilitate that knowledge” for patient benefit, according to a company statement.

How much funding the scientists will receive was not disclosed by MedImmune in its announcement. The partnership brings together MedImmune’s understanding of biopharmaceuticals and the measurement knowledge at NIST.

MedImmune and NIST will focus on developing a new form of Raman spectroscopy to determine if the proteins used in biopharmaceuticals are folding properly and interacting with other molecules as intended. Additionally the partnership will create a database for cellular proteins that have roles in disease and use neutron beams to examine why some proteins used in biopharmaceuticals unfold during their manufacture.

MedImmune will supply NIST with monoclonal antibodies and other proprietary materials needed by the researchers.

The findings of the joint research project will be published by both MedImmune and NIST upon completion of the work.

MedImmune’s agreement with NIST is the latest partnership the biopharmaceutical company has established to advance spur drug research.

Earlier this month MedImmune and the Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals at The University of Manchester in England partnered to generate protein formulation science. The two entities will work on “testing and understanding the fundamental principles of protein solution behavior in order to find better ways to administer breakthrough medicines to patients.”

In January MedImmune partnered with the National Cancer Institute focused on immunotherapies and tumor targeted therapies for cancer. Four initial preclinical research projects have been identified. Two will investigate the combination of immunotherapy agents in mice and two projects will evaluate antibodies that specifically attack tumor cells to evaluate molecular imaging of antibody drug conjugates and evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of cancer stem cells.

Last year MedImmune teamed with the University of Pennsylvania and Inovio Pharmaceuticals to develop DNA-based monoclonal antibodies for infectious disease treatment under a $12.2 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency award.

BioSpace Temperature Poll
Analyst Mark Schoenebaum, a biotech and pharmaceuticals analyst and medical doctor for ISI Group Evercore, has been running a Best Hair in Biopharma contest for several months now. So far, the candidates are Bristol-Myers Squibb Company's John Elicker, ReceptosChief Executive Officer Faheem Hasnain, Celgene's Vice President of Investor Relations Patrick Flanigan and Acorda Therapeutics' Ron Cohen.

We want to know what our BioSpace community thinks: Who do you believe actually has the Best Hair in BioPharma?

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