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Medimmune and Cancer Research UK launch new drug discovery lab

Published on 11/09/15 at 10:39am
lab sign
The CRUK-MEDI alliance will bring together the two sides' cancer biology expertise

MedImmune and the UK’s biggest cancer charity have opened a new laboratory for joint cancer research.

Research at the laboratory, which opened this week by Life Sciences Minister George Freeman, will focus on the discovery and development of novel biologic cancer treatments and diagnostics

The state of the art CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory, located in Granta Park, is an innovative collaboration between MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca and Cancer Research Technology, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK.

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said: “This pioneering new laboratory in Cambridge highlights the vital role that Cancer Research UK and other charities play in funding exciting medical research which has the potential to help many patients. This ambitious project unites academia and industry to translate world-leading research from the laboratory into crucial new treatments for patients. The UK is already leading the way in cancer research, and collaborations such as this help to ensure that we convert that science into new medicines.”

He told Pharmafile: “The central idea and the heart of the UK life science strategy and the Prime Ministers creation of this ministry and my appointment is to accelerate the harnessing of 21st century innovation into our health economy and our health system to help us drive healthcare productivity to deliver more health for every pound.”

Both MedImmune and Cancer Research UK scientists will work together in the laboratory and collaborate closely to share knowledge and expertise to discover and develop novel biologics to treat and diagnose cancer.

Jane Osbourn, vice president of development at MedImmune told Pharmafile: “The collaboration really came out of discussions we had, about rather than doing individual project collaborations, is there something slightly more visionary we can do which combines the expertise from the MedImmune organisation and CRUK.

“We had some initial conversations which developed into this idea; that wouldn’t it be great to create something genuinely joint and unique that is managed jointly, that has joint decision making, and that can really bring the wealth of expertise from both organisations together to do something novel.”

Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development, told Pharmafile: “We are not at the moment focusing on any specific tumour types, we going to go where the science takes us. Principally the lab is about innovative, cutting edge science, brilliant targets, and we will go where the science takes us. It’s about the best science and the best medicines.”

The alliance will bring together MedImmune’s world-class human antibody phage display libraries and protein-engineering expertise with Cancer Research UK’s cancer biology expertise.  

Yasmita Kumar

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