AstraZeneca’s IMED (innovative medicines and early development), unit has launched a web-based open-innovation platform to facilitate research collaborations with other companies, academia, governments and non-governmental organisations.

The dedicated website at will make it easier for scientists to access AstraZeneca’s Open Innovation programmes, creating what the company believes is “one of the broadest open-innovation platforms in the industry”.

Researchers around the world can submit proposals, from early-idea evaluation through to clinical-validation studies, via the new site.

Mene Pangalos, AZ’s executive vice-president, Innovative Medicines and Early Development, put the initiative down to the need for “a more permeable research environment”.

Viable scientific discovery “requires us all to work in more open and creative ways – an essential part of that is making our knowledge and compounds more accessible”, Pangalos said.

AZ’s Open Innovation programmes include:

  • A Clinical Compound Bank of patient-ready ‘live’ and discontinued small-molecule compounds and biologics that have shown evidence of human-target coverage and tolerability in clinical trials.  
  • A Pharmacology Toolbox: compounds with optimised pharmacological properties made available for preclinical research to explore novel disease biology and advance scientific knowledge.
  • Target Innovation collaborations that enable investigators to validate novel molecular drug targets.
  • New Molecule Profiling via advanced cheminformatic capabilities to explore the properties and therapeutic-innovation potential of new molecules.
  • A new R&D Challenge programme, through which researchers can suggest solutions to specific R&D challenges faced by AstraZeneca scientists in ongoing projects.
  • A Suggestion Box where researchers can offer, and be rewarded for, broader innovative ideas and solutions to ongoing challenges.

Scientific-leadership strategy

Partnering and collaborations are key to AZ’s scientific-leadership strategy, especially in its core therapeutic areas of oncology, cardiovascular/metabolic disease and respiratory/autoimmune diseases, the company noted.

Existing open innovation collaborations range from compound-sharing to advanced research into treatments for neglected diseases; preclinical collaborations to source and validate new compounds against a range of targets; and sharing the risks and rewards of drug development among a number of partners.