In the drugmaker’s largest-ever collaboration with a Swedish academic institution, AstraZeneca is teaming up with Karolinska Institutet to establish a cardiovascular and metabolic disease research center.

The phama giant will contribute up to $100 million over five years to the Karolinska Institutet/AstraZeneca Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre, in which scientists from both organizations will work under the same director, for which recruitment is underway. All told, the center will house up to six research groups involving 20 to 30 scientists from both organizations, who will become full-time employees at the center.

AstraZeneca and Karolinska said the center’s aim is to identify and validate novel targets within cardiometabolic diseases, with particular focus on cardiac regeneration and diabetic nephropathy via small molecules and biologics.

In a statement, Stockholm-Uppsala Life Science said the establishment of this center is one of several “clear indicators that the sector is in robust health despite the recent closing of AstraZeneca’s neuroscience facility” in the region.

“We believe that this new collaboration model, with research groups located under one roof and working in a fully integrated manner will be prove a success for both industry and academia,” Karolinska president Anders Hamsten said in a statement.

Added Marcus Schindler, vp, head of CVMD iMed, AstraZeneca: “We have worked side by side with academic institutions in the past, but this is the first time that AstraZeneca will fully integrate our research teams with an academic institution. We believe that this will speed up the progression from groundbreaking research into the delivery of new medicines and advance our scientific leadership in cardiovascular and metabolic research.”

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