Japan’s Shionogi & Co has signed a memorandum of understanding with Invest Sweden, a business development agency belonging to the country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, to form an international network for industry-academic collaborations in pharmaceutical research and development.

Under the agreement, drug leads at Swedish research institutions – both academic institutions and venture companies – will be matched with drug discovery technology and needs at Shionogi. Co-operative relationships for joint research programmes will be established with those institutions whose drug leads or ‘seeds’ meet the company’s requirements.

The agreement also involves exchanges of personnel between Shionogi and Swedish research institutions “to facilitate international human resources development”, the company noted.

Shionogi said the agreement with Invest Sweden was a “cornerstone” of its efforts to accelerate further the globalisation of the company’s activities. The collaborations with Swedish academic institutions and venture companies will fall under the rubric of the SHIONOGI Science Program, an industry academic initiative to discover and develop novel drug leads.