AstraZeneca Forms Pact to Improve Biologics ProductionBy
AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, have formed a three-year collaboration with the newly established Wallenberg Center for Protein Research (WCPR). The collaboration aims to develop new technologies for biologics production and to identify new targets for disease research in the area of the Secretome, which refers to research into all proteins that are secreted by a cell or that are exposed to the outside of the cell from within the cell membrane.
The WCPR will receive funding and expertise from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, AstraZeneca, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University, and Chalmers University of Technology. Specifically, AstraZeneca and MedImmune are focusing on two initiatives: AstraZeneca's Innovative Medicines biotech unit (iMED) will screen the Secretome library using the company's proprietary assays to identify new protein-based targets for compound development across a range of diseases and for the creation of new ‘cell factories' for the large-scale production of therapeutic proteins to support MedImmune's pipeline. This work will be enabled by a detailed knowledge of protein secretion processes and seeks to improve industry-wide methods of the manufacture of biopharmaceutical proteins.
The Secretome accounts for approximately a third of all human proteins, which play a major role in most biological processes, including those involved in cardiac regeneration, the maintenance of functioning cells for glucose balance, cancer proliferation, and migration. This group of proteins is therefore considered to be an invaluable source for identifying new biomarkers, drug targets and for developing novel biologics.