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The Journey from the Bench to Bedside

June 24, 2014
A partnership between a leading academic research center and a biologics company is aiming to develop new therapeutic opportunities

Translational research enables therapies get to where they need to be – to the patient. The process is characterized by collaborative activity between university and company scientists. One recent example is the announcement of a three-year collaboration between MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The partnership will focus on CTSI’s Catalyst Awards program, which solicits applications from university scientists who wish to move their translational research beyond the bench and into product development. The program is designed to help translate early-stage research ideas – therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health – into marketable products. This is the first industrial partnership for the program’s therapeutic track, which focuses specifically on discovery and development of patient treatment options. The collaboration reportedly will benefit both MedImmune’s biologics and AstraZeneca’s small molecule portfolios in areas that include cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; neuroscience and infectious disease.

“UCSF’s innovative translational research capabilities combined with MedImmune’s industry experience in this area will help identify and nurture promising early science that can benefit MedImmune, UCSF researchers and ultimately patients,” said Bing Yao, Senior Vice President and Head of MedImmune’s Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Innovative Medicines Unit. “We look forward to partnering with leading scientists at UCSF and growing our collective expertise within the Bay Area, one of the top global bioscience hubs.”

“This collaboration marks an important first step in cultivating critical industry-academic partnerships in our therapeutics track. Beyond that, it also supports the broader mandate of UCSF and the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards to accelerate research to improve health, for which industry and companies like MedImmune are very important partners,” said June Lee, director of CTSI’s Early Translational Research program, which manages the Catalyst Awards.