WILMINGTON, Del. and CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Dec. 15 AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) and the University of Virginia (UVa) in Charlottesville, today announced that they have entered into a strategic research collaboration to enhance development of new treatments primarily for coronary artery disease (CAD) with a secondary focus on peripheral vascular disease (PAD).
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091027/PH99766LOGO )
The collaborative preclinical research projects will focus on identifying disease mechanisms and biological targets that have the potential to be starting points for successful and commercially viable treatments of these diseases, both major causes of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Atherosclerosis is one of the primary causes of heart diseases, stroke and often death in both men and women in Western Societies. All evidence suggests that this will increase further as risk factors such as poor diet, increased body weight, and a sedentary lifestyle all increase and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes mellitus reach epidemic proportions globally.
The traditional nonsurgical approach to managing CAD has been through treatment of risk factors such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and others. New and innovative approaches, which act directly on the disease in the vessel wall to slow the progression of, regress, or stabilise the atherosclerotic plaque, could be important, especially when linked to novel biomarkers of vulnerable plaque.
Bjorn Wallmark, Vice President of Cardiovascular & Gastrointestinal Research, AstraZeneca said: "This is an area of high unmet medical need: atherosclerosis is a primary cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. AstraZeneca is committed to finding innovative solutions. By partnering with the University of Virginia and working together on the complex biology of these diseases it increases the potential of delivering new treatment options."
Gary Owens, Director of UVa's Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center and UVa Principal Investigator of the AstraZeneca-UVa Alliance said: "We are very pleased to join AstraZeneca in advancing the science of cardiovascular research. Our partnership has the potential to greatly speed up the development of novel drugs to treat diseases in several targeted areas, taking these projects years ahead in some cases."
Thomas Skalak, UVa's Vice President for Research said: "The University of Virginia has a commitment to engage in explorations at the frontiers of medicine, and AstraZeneca's choice of UVa as a global partner indicates the strength of our cardiovascular research and innovation capabilities.
"We found a happy convergence of leadership styles between AstraZeneca and UVa in our shared philosophy of risk-taking, outcomes focus, and collaboration-based research."
The agreement supports a multi-year relationship aimed at making efficient use of the best scientific expertise from both the University of Virginia and AstraZeneca to find optimal treatments for patients with CAD and PAD as quickly as possible.
To learn more about the collaboration from AstraZeneca, please click on the link below:
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US$ 31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit: www.astrazeneca.com
About The University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is distinctive among institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University sustains the ideal of developing, through education, leaders who are well-prepared to help shape the future of the nation and world. The Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia supports interdisciplinary research in basic, translational and clinical cardiovascular sciences, including cardiovascular development, function, pathophysiology, pharmacology, genetics, genomics and proteomics.