30 Oct 2014
The University of Manchester and AstraZeneca have entered into a strategic collaboration to develop cutting-edge technologies designed to enhance the way drugs work and deliver better health outcomes for patients.
The North West Centre for Advanced Drug Delivery will be housed in Manchester Pharmacy School and will have links into a wide range of research groups throughout the University.
The remit of the centre is to deliver enhanced fundamental understanding of drug delivery systems including relevant aspects of biology and physiology in cancer and other therapeutic areas that AstraZeneca is engaged in. The longer term ambition of the collaboration is to deliver a portfolio of advanced drug delivery technologies for use with AstraZeneca drugs.
The collaboration will run for an initial period of five years, with academic researchers and AstraZeneca scientists benefiting from their close proximity and the increased open innovation happening across the two organisations.
Astrazeneca scientists will be fully engaged in research projects, whilst University of Manchester researchers get the opportunity to apply their science in the company's drug development programmes.
A cornerstone of this collaboration is the creation of a manufacturing laboratory for advanced drug delivery technologies housed in the Manchester Pharmacy School.
The new Centre will be led by Professor Nicola Tirelli from the academic side and by Dr Marcel de Matas from AstraZeneca, and will see world-class researchers across a range of disciplines working side-by-side with scientists in AstraZeneca's Pharmaceutical Development group based on the Macclesfield Campus in Cheshire.
This work also complements another partnership at the Manchester Pharmacy School, where scientists from the Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology organisation at AstraZeneca have joined with academics from the School to form a Modelling and Simulation Centre.
In addition, scientists from AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Development also plan to engage more closely with the delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Manchester Pharmacy School. This will involve AstraZeneca staff teaching some elements of academic courses, with students and academic staff also visiting AstraZeneca.
Dr Victoria Silkstone, placements lead from the Manchester Pharmacy School said: "This collaboration will provide students with a first-hand view of what it means to work in the pharmaceutical industry and will provide potential opportunities for our talent to be considered for any suitable roles that might be available at AstraZeneca at a time when competition for pharmacy jobs is increasing."
Dr Paul Stott, Vice President, Product Development at AstraZeneca, said: "AstraZeneca is committed to working across the UK science base and we are excited to continue collaborating with the University of Manchester to establish this new Centre for exploring drug delivery programmes.
"The close proximity between our two facilities and the great pool of talent in both organisations provides considerable potential for the creation of groundbreaking innovations in advanced drug delivery, which we hope will make a meaningful difference to the health of patients suffering from serious diseases."
Professor Kay Marshall, Head of Manchester Pharmacy School said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the students and staff of the Manchester Pharmacy School. We look forward to expanding our existing research in drug delivery enabling us to consolidate further our productive relationship with AZ, for which the common aim is to improve patient care and health outcomes in areas of unmet need."
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