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AstraZeneca, Wallenberg Center partner on Secretome research

Monday, December 14, 2015

AstraZeneca and its global biologics R&D arm MedImmune have begun a three-year collaboration with the newly established Wallenberg Center for Protein Research (WCPR).

The collaboration aims to develop new technologies for biologics production and to identify new targets for disease research in the ground-breaking area of the Secretome—research into all proteins that are secreted by a cell or that are exposed to the outside of the cell from within the cell membrane.

The WCPR will receive funding and expertise from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, AstraZeneca, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University and Chalmers University of Technology.

Specifically, AstraZeneca and MedImmune are focusing on two initiatives. AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines biotech unit (iMED) will screen the Secretome library using the company’s proprietary assays to identify new protein-based targets for compound development across a range of diseases. In addition, the creation of new “cell factories” for the large-scale production of therapeutic proteins will support MedImmune’s deep and diversifying pipeline. That work will be enabled by a detailed knowledge of protein secretion processes and promises significant improvements on the current, industry-wide methods of the manufacture of biopharmaceutical proteins.

The Secretome accounts for a third of all human proteins, which play a major role in most biological processes including those involved in cardiac regeneration, the maintenance of functioning cells for glucose balance, cancer proliferation and migration. That group of proteins is therefore considered to be an invaluable source for identifying new biomarkers and drug targets, and developing novel biologics.

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