AstraZeneca (AZ) just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) to establish a new Oncology Research Program, under which AZ will support 12 early-stage translational research projects headed by Korean investigators focused on cancer.

AZ and KHIDI, per the MOU, will be inviting oncology investigators based at Korean research hospitals to submit research project applications. Proposed topics should be focused on oncology translational research, and the deadline for preproposals, which should be submitted to KHIDI’s website, is April 15. AZ’s Oncology iMed will review and select four preproposals by May, and the researchers who make the shortlist will each receive funding for their research from AZ through their institutes and also gain priority access to a list of AZ compounds for preclinical testing. Those researchers will also have the opportunity to collaborate, network, and get advice with AZ’s own oncology scientists.

AZ, which already has open innovation collaborations in the U.S., U.K., and Taiwan, says it is thrilled to bring its open innovation platform to Korea, where cancer research is sorely needed.

“Cancer is the number one cause of death in Korea and the incidence rate is growing,” Liz Chatwin, country president of AstraZeneca Korea, said in a statement. “We hope this program will provide momentum to develop new medicines to help improve the health of cancer patients in the future—both in Korea and globally.”

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