AstraZeneca and Imperial College London have announced plans to work together on investigating the scientific mechanisms and underlying drivers of respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Both parties will work to a joint research plan with a focus on mechanisms related to inflammation, neuropharmacology and lung irritancy, over an initial three-year period.

The work is to be co-led by AZ’ senior science director Mark Birrell, an expert in preclinical respiratory pharmacology, and ICL’s Professor Teresa Tetley.

AZ will locate scientists at Imperial College London, where the company will also fund additional research roles in the respiratory pharmacology group.

“This latest collaboration with AZ is another great opportunity to combine the expertise of a leading university and an outstanding corporation, which could have real benefits for people living with respiratory health conditions,” said Professor Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London.

“Open research environments across industry and academia are of mutual benefit and the collaboration exemplifies how our groups can push the boundaries of science,” added Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, IMED Biotech Unit and Business Development, AZ.

“I have no doubt this will be a highly productive collaboration to help us turn great science into innovative medicines for patients with debilitating respiratory diseases.”