Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Open Innovation Call Led by UK Research Body and Pharmaceutical Giant

AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company has entered into partnership with the UK's Medical Research Council (MRC), and yesterday announced an initiative aimed at the development of better medicinal treatments to benefit patients. The initiative is an open innovation call to the UK's academic community to put forward research proposals which if accepted could be in receipt of a significant cash award to fund the proposals' extensive research and development.

As the world's population continues growing so to does the need for more effective medicinal treatments. Developing new medicines can be time consuming and expensive, costing around £630 million. The first step involves developing chemical compounds which are then trialled to determine the best ones that would be transformed into medicine. However for an assortment of reasons, mainly cost and lack of resources, these trials are put on hold, sometimes indefinitely. It has been argued that some of these compounds are vital for new medicines and so AstraZeneca plan to make 22 such compounds available as part of the challenge.

The MRC has stated that AstraZeneca will provide to all those who take up this challenge, access to the compounds. The participants then have to propose how these compounds can be used in new areas of medicine. The MRC will review and select the best proposals and award up £10 million to fund the research that will cover a broad range of diseases.
Innovative collaborations are playing a crucial role in finding ways to unlock the potential of new treatments. The UK has a strong heritage of research excellence in life sciences. - David Brennan, Chief Executive, AstraZeneca
The call for submissions is now open and a two stage selection process will be used to determine feasibility of the studies. Any studies that are deemed to duplicate existing work or overlap with any of AstraZeneca's active studies will be rejected. For more information about how to take part visit the MRC's funding opportunities page.

Image Credit; Tulane Public Relations

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