Astra Zeneca announces new genomics research centre

26 April 2016

The pharmaceutical giant, Astra Zeneca, plans to create a new research centre and build an ambitious database of over two million genome sequences.

Astra Zeneca has announced plans to create an integrated genomics initiative to transform drug discovery and development. The pharmaceutical giant – one of the largest in the world – believes that ‘the time is now right’ to join the genomic community.

As a key part of the plan, Astra Zeneca has established a new in-house centre for genomics research at its corporate headquarters in Cambridge. Its purpose is to develop a bespoke database of up to two million genome sequences, including 500,000 samples taken from patients enrolled in the company’s clinical trials.

To help build the database, Astra Zeneca has announced that it will partner with research institutions such as Human Longevity Inc. (US), the Wellcome Trust Sanger institute, and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland at the University of Helsinki. 

The database when complete will be a first of its kind. The company hopes that with the assistance of its partners it will be able to gain new insight into the biology of disease, as well as identify new potential areas of development for medicines and more effective treatment for patients. 

At Astra Zeneca, Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice President of Innovative Medicines & Early Development said: ‘using the power of genomics is the foundation of our ambition to develop the most innovative and impactful treatments for patients… Genomics will be fundamental to our laboratory research, our clinical trials and the launch of our medicines for patients.

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