The £3.2m deal extends the MRC’s Molecular Biology Laboratory’s Blue Sky collaboration with AstraZeneca in Cambridge

Cambridge’s MRC Molecular Biology Laboratory has agreed additional funding of $4m – around £3.2m – to extend its Blue Sky research collaboration with AstraZeneca beyond 2022.

Launched in 2014, the collaboration has sparked preclinical research projects that encourage an open approach to basic biology and disease.

MRC LMB director Jan Lowe. Photo: Keith Hepell. (34821444)

Jan Löwe, LMB Director, said: “We are extremely pleased that our innovative collaboration with AstraZeneca is continuing. Blue Sky projects will continue to deliver exceptional science and give us access to incredible people and resources. We consider Blue Sky to be the LMB’s flagship industrial collaboration and are very proud of the science it delivers.

Notable findings include the discovery by researchers in the group of John O’Neill, LMB’s Cell Biology Division, and Peter Newham of AstraZeneca, that the mechanism by which circadian rhythms in heart cells help to change heart function.

Meanwhile, researchers from the group of Roger Williams, in the LMB’s PNAC division, and structural biologist Chris Phillips, from AstraZeneca, have revealed the first three-dimensional structural model of mutated ataxia-telangiectasia (ATM), which is a key regulator of DNA damage. response and target signaling pathway for cancer therapies.

Researchers from the group of Manu Hegde, in LMB’s Cell Biology Division, and AstraZeneca Associate Principal Scientist Ana Narvaez have discovered a pathway responsible for eliminating unusable proteins that are produced in large quantities in cells cancer due to their mutated and rearranged genomes.

Professor John Iredale, Executive Chairman of the MRC, said: “Since its inception in 2014, the Blue Sky Initiative has provided researchers with the tools and technology to tackle some of the most challenging questions in basic biology and disease, which is why we are delighted to extend this important collaboration between the LMB and AstraZeneca.

Sir Mene Pangalos elected to the Royal Society.  Photo: Keith Hepell.  (56589032)
Sir Mene Pangalos elected to the Royal Society. Photo: Keith Hepell. (56589032)

Sir Mene Pangalos, EVP Biopharmaceutical R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “Understanding the biology of disease is key to developing the next wave of life-changing medicines for patients for whom there are still huge unmet needs.

“The Blue Sky collaboration with the MRC LMB illustrates the importance of academic and industry partnerships to help transform science into medicine, and we are excited to continue this initiative.

Read more

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