AstraZeneca has signed a fresh multi-year agreement with IT specialist Cognizant that covers a wide range of services "to maximise operational efficiency and reduce cycle time".

Under the terms of the deal, financial details for which have not been disclosed, Cognizant will provide centralised statistical programming, statistical analysis, medical writing and document publishing services "across the entire chain of clinical data reporting from case report forms to clinical study reports". AstraZeneca said the pact will increase "operational efficiency, reduce cycle times and optimise costs".

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's head of clinical development, Karin Wingstrand, said the deal "will help us streamline our clinical development operations". She added that "this is key to our business transformation aimed at achieving greater efficiency, agility, flexibility and global competitiveness - all of which are crucial to clinical trials and development of new drugs".

The companies first teamed up in 2004 and since 2008, Cognizant has also been providing centralised data management services for AstraZeneca's global clinical development programmes and application maintenance services in research and clinical development, as well as sales and marketing.