AstraZeneca has linked up with the South Korean government to set up a number of cancer research projects.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government-funded Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) to provide support for 12 early-stage translational research projects by Korean investigators’ in oncology. An area of high unmet medical need, the number of cancer sufferers in the country almost doubled to over 218,000 patients between 2001 and 2011.
The partners will invite early-stage research project applications from oncology investigators based at research hospitals across the country and AstraZeneca’s Oncology iMed will then review and select four pre-proposals by May this year. The shortlisted investigators will each receive research funding from AstraZeneca and gain priority access to a specified list of the latter's compounds for pre-clinical testing.

Steve Yang, head of AstraZeneca’s Asia and emerging markets iMed, said that "open innovation and collaboration is increasingly a way of life" at the company. He added that AstraZeneca already has open innovation collaborations in the USA, UK and Taiwan "and are excited to now bring this way of working to Korea. We have strong belief in the translational as well as clinical research capability of Korean oncology scientists and are eager to see what they will be able to contribute to this programme".
AstraZeneca says it was the first multinational pharma company to sign an MOU with Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare back in 2006 for R&D and clinical exchanges.