AstraZeneca and Cancer Research U.K. have signed a memorandum of understanding through which Cancer Research U.K. drug discovery investigators would be given access to state-of-the-art drug discovery facilities at the new AZ MRC U.K. Center for Lead Discovery to be built in Cambridge.
“Having access to AstraZeneca’s extensive compound library and innovative drug discovery technology will help our researchers quickly translate new discoveries into patient benefit," said Alexa Smith, Cancer Research U.K.’s head of translational research funding.
As part of the five-year collaboration, scientists from Cancer Research U.K., through its Drug Discovery Units, will benefit from unprecedented access to over two million molecules in AZ’s compound library and screening tools at the facility.
High-throughput screening methods will be used to identify lead compounds within the compound library, including fragment-based lead generation, in which small chemical fragments are screened against drug targets; screening of a collection of compounds potentially useful for blocking kinase drug targets; and phenotypic screens to identify active compounds within cells that could be starting points for new drugs.
Cancer Research U.K. and AZ screening scientists will work alongside each other on up to five drug screens annually. Cancer Research U.K. will decide which novel cancer drug discovery projects to investigate and AZ has the option to negotiate a commercial license with Cancer Research Technology, Cancer Research U.K.’s commercial arm, to progress the most promising candidates through further drug discovery and development.
Alexa Smith, Cancer Research U.K.’s head of translational research funding, said, “Having access to AstraZeneca’s extensive compound library and innovative drug discovery technology will help our researchers quickly translate new discoveries into patient benefit. We hope this initial proposed agreement will develop into a longer term arrangement that will boost our drug discovery capabilities further, with scope to develop similar strategic partnerships with other leading drug discovery organizations in the future.”