AstraZeneca has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), a government-funded institution aiming to enhance global competitiveness of the healthcare industry, to establish an Oncology Research Program.
AstraZeneca will provide support for 12 early-stage translational research projects by Korean investigators' in oncology—an area of high unmet medical need in Korea. Cancer is the number one cause of death in Korea. From 2001 to 2011, the total number of cancer sufferers in Korea almost doubled, to over 218,000 patients. AstraZeneca and KHIDI aim to contribute to the development of new treatments for Korean cancer patients.
AstraZeneca and KHIDI will invite early-stage research project applications from oncology investigators based at research hospitals across the country. Proposed topics should be focused on oncology translational research, with pre-proposals submitted via the KHIDI web site (www.khidi.or.kr) by April 15.
AstraZeneca's Oncology iMed will review and select four pre-proposals by May 2014. The shortlisted investigators will each receive research funding from AstraZeneca via their respective institutes and gain priority access to a specified list of AstraZeneca compounds for preclinical testing, as part of AstraZeneca's open innovation platform. The successful researchers also will benefit from technological advice, collaboration and networking with AstraZeneca oncology scientists globally.
Keetaig Jung, head of KHIDI, said, "This program is expected to make a great contribution to enhancing the new drug development capability of Korean investigators, and we hope that this effort of sharing know-how between Korean researchers and AstraZeneca will bear fruit in the form of new drugs that will benefit patients in the future."
"Open innovation and collaboration is increasingly a way of life at AstraZeneca. We believe that bringing together the ideas of many will help tackle global health challenges and accelerate the delivery of valuable medicines to patients. We already have open innovation collaborations in the U.S., U.K. and Taiwan, and are excited to now bring this way of working to Korea,” said Dr. Steve Yang, head of AstraZeneca's Asia and Emerging Markets Innovative Medicines group. “We have strong belief in the translational as well as clinical research capability of Korean oncology scientists and are eager to see what they will be able to contribute to this program."
AstraZeneca was the first multinational pharmaceutical company to sign an MOU with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) in 2006 for R&D and clinical exchanges. The company also has conducted several activities such as the Virtual Research Institute project in cooperation with KHIDI to support basic research among Korean scientists. In 2011, the company signed a second MOU with MOHW—Partnering with Korea—to continue its long-term partnership with the Korean healthcare community.