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Sep 27, 2006

AstraZeneca Opens First CPU in the U.S.

  • AstraZeneca opened its first U.S.-based clinical pharmacology unit (CPU) at the University of Pennsylvania Health Care System’s Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The company considers this opening a significant investment in research capabilities in the Delaware Valley.

    “Expanding the number of CPUs at AstraZeneca will yield a strategic advantage in medicine development for the company,” points out Alan Hollister, M.D., Ph.D., who will serve as the head of the CPU. “Internal units can be more flexible and have greater scientific capabilities to complement the work done by external contract research organizations. These attributes will enhance the critical evaluation of new medicinal candidates.”

    The CPU will have electrocardiology (ECG) collection systems, telemetry systems, and electronic data-capture systems. These technologies will provide critical information, such as toxicity and the relationship between drug dose and its actions.

    AstraZeneca has five CPUs and one ECG center across Sweden, the U.K., and, now, the U.S. “The new facility will add significantly to our global capability to conduct important safety and tolerability studies that support our development of new medicines for patients,” comments Karen Gotting-Smith, vp of U.S. clinical development.

    The opening of the CPU comes six months after announcing a research collaboration agreement with The University of Pennsylvania.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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