MedImmune, the global biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have signed a five-year agreement to jointly support research that will help advance drug discovery and manufacturing. The effort will focus on tools and measurements that will be used in the development and production of biopharmaceuticals, which are drugs and treatments derived from biological, rather than chemical, sources.
MedImmune is providing first-year funding for seven NIST postdoctoral scientists, each working on a joint MedImmune/NIST research project. These projects will seek to better understand mechanisms of action, structures and other biological and chemical principles useful in drug development, engineering and formulation, and help create measurement tools to facilitate that knowledge.
MedImmune/NIST collaborations include:
Along with funding for the seven postdoctoral associates, MedImmune will supply NIST with monoclonal antibodies and other proprietary materials needed by the researchers. Work will be conducted at both the MedImmune and NIST campuses, which are located in Gaithersburg, Md. The effort will be supported by two MedImmune departments—biopharmaceutical development and antibody discovery and protein engineering—and NIST’s Materials Measurement Laboratory. Access also will be provided to two NIST national user facilities, the NIST Center for Neutron Research and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
The research will be conducted under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), the principal mechanism used by federal laboratories to engage in collaborative efforts with nonfederal partners to achieve the goals of technology transfer. CRADAs allow the exchange of resources with private industry to advance technologies that can then be commercialized for the benefit of the public and the U.S. economy. Both parties plan to publish the results of their research under the CRADA.