AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm MedImmune have entered into collaboration with the University of Michigan and Eli Lilly to discover new therapeutic targets to treat chronic kidney diseases (CKD).

The partners’ renal pre-competitive consortium (RPC2) will combine the R&D expertise of the companies with clinical and molecular data collected by University of Michigan nephrologist Matthias Kretzler.

The renal database includes information from more than 1,000 patients, as well as from multiple animal models of CKD, for use toward research into the condition.

Dr Kretzler said: "We have to find ways to bring new therapies to our patients faster.

"The RPC2 gives us the opportunity to combine large-scale clinical and molecular data exploration with the development expertise of the pharmaceutical industry."

"The RPC2 gives us the opportunity to combine large-scale clinical and molecular data exploration with the development expertise of the pharmaceutical industry."

RPC2 will access the database to discover key pathways that drive the progression of CKD, as well as identify potential targets for new treatments.

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Each member will contribute with its bioinformatic and scientific capabilities to the consortium, while members retain the right to explore targets of interest independently.

AstraZeneca cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (CVMD) innovative medicines unit head Marcus Schindler said: "For AstraZeneca, joining this consortium represents a great step forward in our aspiration to become a leader in the treatment of CKD.

"We believe that knowledge generated in the consortium will lead to an expansion of our portfolio with targets that have a strong patient-based foundation."

According to AstraZeneca, its participation in the consortium complements a two-year research collaboration between the company and the University of Michigan launched last year.

As part of that deal, targets from AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular and metabolic disease portfolio are validated for their potential in treating CKD, with an aim to discover new targets and driving re-purposing of existing medicines based on new understanding of disease progression.

MedImmune cardiovascular and metabolic diseases innovative medicines head Cristina Rondinone said: "The consortium brings several combined years of drug discovery and scientific expertise from academic and pharmaceutical partners, which will accelerate discovery of new pathways to help us deliver meaningful biologic medicines for patients with chronic kidney diseases."