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MedImmune, UCSF Launch Collaboration

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MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have announced a research collaboration that will be focused in Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) with an emphasis on basic research and translational sciences. The collaboration builds on the existing partnership between the two organizations formed in 2014 and leverages MedImmune’s local presence in Mountain View, CA.

Scientists from both organizations will partner to explore the disease biology and the core underlying mechanisms that drive areas of unmet medical need in RIA, such as the microbiome and regenerative medicine. The work will include extensive profiling of patient samples to expand understanding of disease progression; to identify novel biomarkers; and, to create a quantative framework to understand the effect of these biomarkers on clinical trial outcomes.

“This partnership brings together the complementary strengths of UCSF and MedImmune and will foster closer engagement between both groups,” said June Lee, MD, Director, Early Translational Research and the Catalyst Program at UCSF, who is overseeing the partnership.  “Ultimately, these collaborations will accelerate research to better understand diseases with limited treatment options, and will hopefully have significant impact.”

This partnership will include seven initial research projects over the next three years, with the potential for more projects to be included in the future. These projects will focus on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), scleroderma, sarcoidosis, severe asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

“We look forward to extending our existing partnership with world-renowned scientists at UCSF, an institution committed to advancing translational research,” said Dr. Bing Yao, Senior Vice President and Head of MedImmune’s Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Innovative Medicines Unit. “Combined with MedImmune’s innovative, cutting-edge science in respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity as well as translational medicine, we are optimistic our collective findings will benefit the patients who are most in need.”

There are significant gaps in the understanding of how these diseases progress and whether distinct patient subtypes are more amenable to current or experimental therapies. Moreover, many of these diseases are increasing in incidence, resulting in an even greater impact on health. This extensive research program will lay the groundwork for ongoing drug discovery and development aimed at identifying new medicines for the millions of patients living with these conditions who currently lack sufficient treatment options. Developing techniques to quantify the impact of predictive biomarkers on clinical outcomes data will help further advance the ultimate aim of precision medicine in these disease areas.