In a partnership said to be the first of its kind for the organizations involved, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and its commercial arm Cancer Research Technology (CRT) are teaming up with AstraZeneca and its biologics R&D branch MedImmune to establish a joint laboratory in Cambridge, U.K., devoted to discovering and developing novel biologic cancer treatments over an initial five-year period.

At the new CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory, researchers from CRUK and Medimmune will be working together to discover and develop antibodies to treat cancer. In addition to contributing a team of its researchers, CRUK says it will provide setup and operational funding for the new lab and will contribute a portfolio of drug targets. MedImmune will oversee lab activities and provide access to its human antibody phage display libraries and antibody-engineering technologies. 

“This unique partnership will bring together cutting-edge research with the most advanced antibody technologies industry can offer under one roof, to deliver significant output over a number of years,” CRT's CEO Keith Blundy said in a statement. “Cancer Research UK-funded scientists from across the U.K. will have the opportunity to access this unique lab and expertise. It’s the first of what we hope will be many such pioneering collaborations that will help to accelerate the translation of our research into potential new drugs.”