MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics research and development arm, and The Johns Hopkins University said today they entered into a five-year, $6.5 million research collaboration focusing on the company’s therapeutic areas of interest, including cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmunity; infectious disease; and neuroscience. 

The partners said their new collaboration model will extend to both MedImmune’s portfolio of biologics and AstraZeneca’s portfolio of small molecule compounds. Key projects will include:

  • Oncology: exploring the role of immune system cells in tumor growth, then using the findings to help identify new cancer drug targets.
  • Respiratory, inflammation, and autoimmunity: researching the mechanisms underlying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and validating potential key therapeutic targets in the development or progression of RA.
  • Infectious disease: assessing monoclonal antibody combinations to aid in clinical candidate selections to more effectively prevent recurrent infections in high-risk patients, such as those with diabetes. This area of collaboration is designed to advance ongoing work by MedImmune to prevent serious and costly drug-resistant infections.
  • Antibody discovery and protein engineering: working with Johns Hopkins to find innovative ways to manufacture complex next-generation biologic drugs.
“We are excited about the opportunity for our scientists to collaborate with MedImmune researchers to accelerate the development of new therapies to treat a variety of serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and certain types of cancer,” Landon King, M.D., executive vice dean, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

MedImmune and Johns Hopkins said they will each contribute funding, personnel, and materials to address the collaboration’s focus areas and exchange knowledge through joint research efforts, training programs, and access to specialized knowledge, facilities, and equipment.

“We believe this significant collaboration with Johns Hopkins University will create a new standard on how academia and industry can work together,” said Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., evp, MedImmune. “Our partnership with this prestigious research university will leverage each organization’s strengths, advance research in critical therapeutic areas, and strengthen Maryland’s presence as a growing hub in the bioscience industry.”

MedImmune is headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, and serves as one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centers under a restructuring announced in March.

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