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AstraZeneca Teams Up With Two Major Research Contractors

by Jean-François Tremblay
October 18, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 43

The British drugmaker AstraZeneca has established two research outsourcing agreements as part of the restructuring of its R&D organization.

In Beijing, the Chinese pharmaceutical R&D contractor Pharmaron will set up a dedicated research center for AstraZeneca that can accommodate “several hundred” scientists, according to Pharmaron. Under a multiyear agreement, the facility will provide AstraZeneca discovery services in chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and efficacy screening. It will be located within a campus where Pharmaron already operates an R&D center for Merck Serono.

AstraZeneca also selected Charles River Laboratories, with headquarters in Wilmington, Mass., as its preferred partner for regulated safety assessment and development drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. The firms say the deal will increase Charles River’s annual sales, which were $1.1 billion last year, by about 1%.

AstraZeneca is in the midst of a major restructuring of its R&D organization. Early this year, it announced that it will lay off 2,200 researchers. At the same time, the company is increasing its presence in emerging markets. In China, for example, it is investing $200 million to build a plant for intravenous and solid medicines in Taizhou, Zhejiang province.

The two partnerships are a part of “our plans to evolve our R&D operating model—creating a leaner, simpler, more flexible organization with increased efficiencies,” AstraZeneca spokeswoman Laura Woodin tells C&EN.


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