Placeholder Banner

#BIO 2013: Open Innovation and Biopharmaceutical R&D

April 23, 2013
In these changing times, the concept of Open Innovation is one that we at AstraZeneca have fully embraced.

By sharing new ideas and enabling scientific innovation to cross boundaries between companies, academia, government and non-profit organizations, we can accelerate new ideas into innovative medicines.

An Open Innovation discussion at BIO

I will discuss the importance that AstraZeneca places on Open Innovation today at this year’s BIO International Convention. An interactive session will include a panel discussion and presentations of cases studies of notable Open Innovation success stories.

How are we applying Open Innovation?

With the aim of accelerating the delivery of valuable medicines, AstraZeneca has continued to be engaged in Open Innovation in recent years. This approach has already led to a number of notable success stories.

In December 2011, a groundbreaking agreement between AstraZeneca and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) provided the MRC researchers with unprecedented access to 22 compounds that have been in development. This partnership will lead to new understanding across disease areas such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, muscular dystrophy and motor neurone disease with the possibility of new treatment approaches being unearthed.

Also in 2011, AstraZeneca was one of the founding members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Re:Search initiative. This extraordinary collaboration between the private sector and public partners is aimed at advancing research in neglected tropical diseases (NTD), including tuberculosis and malaria. WIPO Re:Search offers a searchable database of available intellectual property assets, to which AstraZeneca has contributed its entire portfolio of patents and published patent applications for use in NTD research.

Connecting with the biomedical research community is a powerful way to accelerate discovery. In May 2012, AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies (Eli Lilly, Pfizer) joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch the Discovering New Therapeutics Uses for Existing Molecules program. This is a collaborative pilot program designed to develop partnerships with the biomedical research community. The aim is to advance therapeutic development by sharing molecular compounds and test ideas in the clinic for new therapeutic uses.

Alongside collaboration with government and regulatory bodies, the Open Innovation approach has also been mutually beneficial for setting up inter-company alliances. AstraZeneca has recently extended a collaborative programme with Bayer Healthcare to share early research know-how and chemistry assets for selected drug targets proposed on each other’s behalf. The early success of this work has led to the original collaboration being extended for an additional three years.

AstraZeneca is also part of a cross-Pharma collaboration with academics and SMEs, called the European Lead Factory. This is an IMI-funded drug discovery partnership in which seven pharma companies are making available thousands of their chemical compounds to each other and academics, across Europe. This could help enable each party to find new starting points for drug targets from chemistry they would not previously have had access to.

An ecosystem for co-created solutions

Open Innovation establishes an arena for discussion and collaboration, an ecosystem for co-created solutions, where everyone understands who the best partners are and play to their strengths for collective gain. I look forward to taking part in this discussion and meeting you at the BIO International Convention in the coming days.