MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologic research and development arm, announced that it is expanding its collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to focus on basic research and translational sciences into diseases involving the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) fields.
The partnership continues joint work begun in 2014, and the two will initiate about a half-dozen research projects over next three years into diseases that include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Dr. June Lee, who will oversee the collaboration, said in a MedImmune press release: “This partnership brings together the complementary strengths of UCSF and MedImmune, and will foster closer engagement between both groups. Ultimately, these collaborations will accelerate research to better understand diseases with limited treatment options, and will hopefully have significant impact.” Dr. Lee is also director of Early Translational Research and the Catalyst Program at UCSF.
Researchers will investigate disease biology and the underlying mechanisms driving areas of unmet medical need in RIA, including the microbiome and regenerative medicine. Their work will include analyzing patient samples to better understand disease progression, identifying potential predictive biomarkers for disease monitoring, and establishing a framework for understanding biomarker effects on clinical trial outcomes.
In addition to research into IPF, the partners plan to investigate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), scleroderma, sarcoidosis, severe asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Further research projects are possible, but these diseases were chosen because of their unmet needs and rising incidence, and consequently, their growing impact on public health.
Researchers with both UCSF and MedImmune also want to promote drug discovery and identify new medicines for these conditions.
“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.”