AstraZeneca has linked up with the USA's Sarah Cannon Research Institute in a deal which will see the latter lead the clinical development of a novel targeted oncology compound from the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker.

Under the terms of the agreement, SCRI will collaborate with AstraZeneca to provide clinical programme development and design, medical oversight and trial management. The first study to be conducted under the pact was initiated in November. 

Andrew Hughes, head of oncology clinical innovative medicines at AstraZeneca, said that "for many years we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with SCRI and this is an exciting next step". He claimed that the collaboration is unique because SCRI will assist AstraZeneca "with both the design and delivery of a new agent from its first studies in cancer patients to proof of concept at the conclusion of Phase II".

Howard Burris, SCRI's chief medical officer, added that "this type of strategic partnership is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how clinical scientists and industry can collaborate". He went on to say that "I believe the structure of the relationship will enable us to both adapt and move quickly from one study to the next".