Leaders from the University of Michigan Medical School and MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, have signed a new agreement to work together on a broad range of projects. The three-year strategic collaboration will bring scientists from one of the nation’s top medical research institutions together with scientists from one of the world’s leading developers of biologic therapies. UMMS and MedImmune scientists will cooperate on studies that aim to translate scientific discoveries from the laboratory into new candidates for treating cancer, heart disease, digestive disease, lung disease and diseases caused by inflammation.
This type of translational and pre-clinical research is designed to identify and confirm the specific molecules and genes involved in causing disease, and potential molecules and cell-based therapies to treat or prevent them.
The new agreement goes beyond the traditional type of academic-industry research relationship, in which companies fund projects such as clinical trials, or license patents on discoveries made by university scientists and develop them on their own. In this new type of agreement, scientists from medical schools and industry collaborate closely on projects – while also preserving academic freedom, research integrity and both sides’ rights to intellectual property for discoveries.
“This new horizon in industry-academic partnership ultimately benefits patients, who demand new and better options for treating diseases,” says Norman Greenberg, Ph.D., MedImmune’s vice president for oncology desearch and development. “New types of partnerships between academic biomedical powerhouses such as Michigan, and industry leaders such as MedImmune, are needed to accelerate the search for those options.”