AstraZeneca and subsidiary MedImmune have entered into four new collaborations with the University of Cambridge, expanding on their existing partnership.

As part of the three year collaboration, both the companies and the university will carry out research activities on neurodegenerative diseases.

The researchers from all parties will work together to address gaps in drug discovery, translational biomarkers and personalised healthcare approaches for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

The university will support with its expertise in disease biology, and provide experimental models and tissue samples for the programme.

Both companies will offer access to molecular tools and screening capabilities, as well as drug development expertise to enable novel target and biomarker discovery and validation.

"The researchers will work together to address gaps in drug discovery, translational biomarkers and personalised healthcare approaches for diseases."

University of Cambridge neurology professor Alastair Compston said: "This strategic partnership will promote an increased understanding of disease mechanisms and enable work in basic neuroscience to address unmet therapeutic needs in a variety of serious neurodegenerative diseases."

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A material transfer agreement (MTA) will provide university researchers access to key compounds of AstraZeneca for investigation.

The third collaboration is between MedImmune and the University of Cambridge, and will include a doctoral training programme where PhD candidates will spend a significant amount of time at the university and in MedImmune’s laboratories.

The entrepreneur-in-residence collaboration will help to provide guidance and mentorship to academic researchers, who are participating in scientific programmes.

For this programme, MedImmune will provide support and advice on key issues including: drug and technology development, business planning, intellectual property, market opportunities, partnering approaches and securing investment.

MedImmune executive vice-president Bahija Jallal said: "We are excited to establish this prestigious strategic alliance between AstraZeneca, MedImmune and the University of Cambridge to progress high quality scientific research."