Collaborations

The Neuroscience iMed partners academia, industry and foundations to advance the innovative programs that make up AstraZeneca’s Neuroscience pipeline. Here are some of the highlights of our collaborations.

A5 Alliance
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed has sponsored a first of its kind research alliance known as the A5 alliance. The A5 brings four leading academic research laboratories together with the Neuroscience iMed to study a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, the apolipoprotein E4 genotype. Members of the collaboration with AstraZeneca include Dr. Steven Paul of the Helen and Robert Appel Alzheimer’s Disease Research Institute at Weill Cornell, Dr. David Holtzman of Washington University, Dr. Peter Davies of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Dr. Cheryl Wellington of the University of British Columbia. The A5 alliance members represent a collaborative team of scientists with expertise in ApoE biology that focus on identification, validation, and risk reduction of drug targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Eli Lilly
AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) announced an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize AZD3293, an oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor currently in development as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Under the agreement, AZD3293 is progressing in Phase II/III clinical trials in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly is leading clinical development, working with researchers from the Neuroscience iMed, while AstraZeneca is responsible for manufacturing. The companies will share responsibility for commercialization of AZD3293 if successful.
Eolas Therapeutics
AstraZeneca and Eolas Therapeutics have entered into a worldwide license and partnership agreement on the Eolas Orexin-1 Receptor Antagonist (EORA) program for smoking cessation and other indications. This program has been awarded a Blueprint Neurotherapeutics (BPN) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that would support development of the program through Phase I clinical trials. The collaboration is a great example of our unique approach to Neuroscience drug discovery and development, partnering to advance the most exciting scientific opportunities in areas of high unmet medical need.
Kings College London
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed is collaborating with Professor Steve McMahon to search for novel peripheral pain mediators, using methods to undertake transcriptional profiling of bladder biopsy specimens from patients with bladder pain and from control subjects not in pain. Any potential mediators that are differentially expressed will be further evaluated using a combination of human and animal experimental models.
Lieber Institute
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed is partnering with the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD) at The Johns Hopkins University to use genetics and stem cell biology to discover new drugs for neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. This collaboration brings together LIBD’s expertise in human genomics, stem cell biology and informatics with the iMed’s expertise in neuroscience drug discovery to define new approaches to treating diseases of the brain. iMed project leaders are working closely with LIBD researchers to identify and validate new drug targets and learn more about their use in specific populations of patients.
Michael J. Fox Foundation
AstraZeneca neuroscience iMed has partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) to support research on levodopa-induced dyskinesias (LID), a complication of medicines commonly used to reduce Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic degenerative neurological disorder affecting cells in the brains that control body movements. It affects about 1% of the population over 60 years of age. The Neuroscience iMed will apply the $465,000 grant toward preclinical study of a novel nicotinic receptor agonist. If this research and subsequent clinical trials prove successful, AstraZeneca hopes to deliver a medicine that will reduce LID, enabling Parkinson’s disease patients to optimise their treatment with levodopa.
NIDA
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an arm of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), to explore the potential of the Neuroscience iMed’s metabotropic glutamate receptor modulators as novel treatments for drug addiction. As part of the collaboration, NIDA will conduct and fund a Phase II trial of AZD8529 in smoking cessation as part of its strategic medications development program with AstraZeneca supplying drug for the study. The AstraZeneca molecule represents a distinct approach from existing treatments and holds potential for preventing relapse and sustaining abstinence from smoking, areas of high unmet need not served by current treatments. The collaboration also involves preclinical work providing critical supporting data for nicotine addiction and will expand to include substance abuse disorders
Target ALS
The Neruoscience iMed has secured a grant from Target ALS in collaboration with two leaders of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), research– Dr Aaron Gitler (Stanford) and Dr James Shorter (Penn). As part of the collaboration, AstraZeneca will screen for modulators of a range of ALS-linked proteins, which have been implicated by genetics and pathology in the disease. Downstream deconvolution will be conducted in the academic labs. Target ALS is a philanthropic venture aiming to catalyze research and find treatments for ALS.
Tufts
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed has partnered with the Tufts University Department of Neuroscience to establish a small team of scientists working collaboratively to advance disease understanding in areas such as neurodevelopment disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. This three-year collaboration leverages leading expertise in the laboratory of Professor Steve Moss at Tufts University to investigate mechanisms implicated in CNS disease pathophysiology. The research conducted in the Neuroscience department at Tufts University, under the co-direction of Professor Moss and Drs. John Dunlop and Nick Brandon from AstraZeneca, will focus on validating therapeutic targets for the early drug discovery pipeline at AstraZeneca.
University of Cambridge
Building on an existing strategic partnership between AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the University of Cambridge in the UK, the Neuroscience iMed began a 3-year collaboration with leading scientists to advance our understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and multiple sclerosis. Working with six key investigators (Professors Rubinsztein, Rowe, Barker, Livesey, Spillantini and Franklin), the collaboration aims to drive target selection, biomarker identification and personalised healthcare approaches by studying cell and animal models of proteinopathies, modulating autophagy and examination of the effects of aging on oligodendrocytes. The collaboration is co-directed by the iMed’s Iain Chessell, Keith Tan, Andy Billinton and Mike Perkinton.
Vanderbilt
AstraZeneca Neuroscience iMed has partnered with the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) to discover novel positive allosteric modulators of the M4 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, implicated as important in a number of neurological diseases. This partnership leverages VCNDD’s significant capabilities in neuroscience drug discovery to conduct all aspects of the drug discovery program under the joint oversight of a scientific team from both the AstraZeneca and VCNDD. The goal of the two-year collaboration is to identify a small molecule preclinical candidate for subsequent advancement into clinical development for the treatment of psychiatric complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease.