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AstraZeneca looks for new partners to bolster pipeline

Published on 16/01/12 at 02:48pm
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AstraZeneca has used a recent healthcare conference in San Francisco to call for new drug development partners.

Speaking at the event, hosted by JP Morgan, AZ’s chief financial officer Simon Lowth said: “Partnering is a long-term commitment which is embedded in our organisation.”

Chief executive David Brennan has already pledged that partnering “will be a way of life going forward,” as the company makes its pipeline ‘the number one priority’.

AstraZeneca said at the meeting that its areas of interest range from COPD to psychiatry and diagnostics to diabetes. The company would also like to be involved in late-stage opportunities in hearing disorders, critical care, hepatology, women’s health, and wound healing.

“We add value to our partners’ products,” Lowth said, citing examples of those products that have made it to market in the past couple of years.

Approved drugs that AstraZeneca has sourced from partners include oral DPP-4 inhibitor type II diabetes treatment Onglyza (devloped with Bristol-Myers Squibb), and rheumatoid arthritis treatment Vimovo (co-marketed with Pozen).

But not all of these collaborations have gone to plan. In a separate deal, AZ and BMS are also working together on the diabetes treatment dapagliflozin, but this is being held up by regulators due to safety concerns.

Also struggling is TC-5214 for depression being made in conjunction with Targacept, which suffered a late-stage detback last year casting doubts the drug’s future.

Conferences such as JP Morgan’s are seen as good networking opportunities for companies, and AstraZeneca was certainly making the most of its attendance. 

With several disappointing collaborations and a reltavely weak late-stage pipeline, AZ’s desire to find new partners is paramount to the firm, and it was quick to announce its intentions to the world.

During the conference the AZ media team turned to its Twitter feed: “AZ business development and R&D teams to attend 260+ meetings with biotech & pharma peers.”

It added: “If you miss us at #JPM12 and want to partner with AZ, contact our business development team.”

Adam Hill

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