Sector News

AstraZeneca ratchets up tech capabilities of Cambridge R&D site

November 24, 2015
Life sciences

AstraZeneca has unveiled a clutch of deals to add to the technological capabilities of its new R&D hub in Cambridge, U.K. The agreements will equip the site with robots to carry out high-throughput screening, sound wave tools to dispense compounds and software to share data with external partners.

Work on the facility, the AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for Lead Discovery, began last year when the Big Pharma hooked up with the Medicines Research Council (MRC). The facility, which will sit within AstraZeneca’s new R&D campus in Cambridge, will support compound screening projects run by staff from the Big Pharma and MRC, as well as programs initiated by select academic researchers. While the facility is still being built, an image of the types of technology AstraZeneca will make available to researchers is starting to take shape.

The most eye-catching of the three tech deals unveiled by AstraZeneca this week involves HighRes Biosolutions, which will work with the Big Pharma to develop robotics for use in the facility. Once the development of the technology is complete, AstraZeneca will have light, strong robots with which its researchers can interact directly. By putting researchers in physical contact with light, strong robots, instead of hiding them away behind protective shields, AstraZeneca thinks its technology will have broader utility and better efficiency than existing alternatives.

AstraZeneca has also inked agreements to install sound wave technology that facilitates hands-free dispensing of compounds onto well plates and software to support data analysis and sharing. The deals form part of a drive at AstraZeneca to make the best use of its compound library. Management is looking outside of AstraZeneca’s walls for ideas about what to do with the compounds–the deal with MRC includes funding for 15 screening projects–and for the chemicals themselves. The tech deals coincided with AstraZeneca’s agreement to share 210,000 compounds with Sanofi.

By Nick Paul Taylor

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

May 21, 2022

As monkeypox cases emerge in US and Europe, Bavarian Nordic inks vaccine order

Life sciences

A monkeypox outbreak is emerging in the U.S. and Europe, and at least one country is amping up countermeasure preparedness. Bavarian Nordic has secured a contract with an unnamed European country to supply its smallpox vaccine, called Imvanex in Europe, in response to the emergence of monkeypox cases, the Danish company said Thursday.

May 21, 2022

Moderna chairman Afeyan defends hiring practices after CFO debacle: report

Life sciences

Moderna’s recent chief financial officer debacle—in which Jorge Gomez departed on his second day on the job—raised questions about the company’s hiring process given its rush to global biopharma prominence. The most obvious one: How was it possible for Gomez to be hired when he was under investigation by his previous employer, Dentsply Sirona of Charlotte, N.C.

May 21, 2022

Merck to pay up to $1.4B in cancer deal with Kelun, but details are scarce

Life sciences

Merck & Co. is plucking a cancer project from the branch of Chinese-based Kelun Pharmaceutical for up to $1.4 billion, but details from the New Jersey-based Big Pharma have been hard to come by. The deal, first disclosed Monday on the Shenzhen stock exchange, has Merck handing over $47 million in upfront cash in exchange for ex-China rights to a “macromolecular tumor project.”