AstraZeneca and MRC Technology work together to find new epigenetic targets in respiratory disease


They are seeking academic partners with relevant targets to work with them to develop new treatments

AstraZeneca and medical research charity MRC Technology (MRCT) are launching an initiative aimed at finding new epigenetic drug targets in respiratory disease.

The partners are seeking to work with academics with relevant epigenetic targets to develop new treatments.

Dr Justin Bryans, Director, Drug Discovery, at MRC Technology said by combining their expertise, the partners will generate more opportunities to translate early stage academic research into potential new therapies.

AstraZeneca and MRCT are particularly interested to hear from researchers studying epigenetic mechanisms involved in respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. They are also interested in epigenetic modulators acting in biological pathways relevant to respiratory, inflammatory or autoimmune disease, such as those involved in determining particular immune cell subsets or phenotypes (for example, Tregs and T effector cells).

Drug discovery projects will be a multidisciplinary collaboration between academic scientists, AstraZeneca and MRCT. AstraZeneca and MRCT will provide proprietary small molecule collections, assay development and screening, medicinal chemistry, access to disease models for testing the molecules and project oversight.

Maarten Kraan, Head of the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmune Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca, said: 'Respiratory diseases are a key area of focus for AstraZeneca and one that represents a high unmet medical need. We are now starting to understand how epigenetic factors help to explain the generation of many chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD. These factors are also reversible, which makes them good targets for therapeutic intervention.

'This unique collaboration will allow us to work with a strong academic consortium and the best academic translational scientists across the world to advance medical science and accelerate the search for new treatments.'

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