New collaboration for Nottingham is UK's first for a Biomedical Research Centre

14 Mar 2018 10:24:56.720

The NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre has become the first in the UK to sign an agreement that could lead to the faster development of new treatments for some of the most common diseases, including arthritis and asthma.

Over the next two years, leading research teams at the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre will collaborate with their counterparts in the IMED Biotech Unit at the global biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.

Under the agreement, NHS clinicians and University scientists will have access to an extensive range of AstraZeneca’s chemical compounds, as part of their work on the development of new therapies and treatments.

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Nottingham is the first NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) to formally establish a collaboration with AstraZeneca’s Open Innovation platform, providing the opportunity for teams working in six areas of clinical research to draw on resources, expertise and compounds developed by AstraZeneca to facilitate studies designed to change the way diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated.

Professor Ian Hall, Director of the NIHR Nottingham BRC and Professor of Molecular Medicine in the University of Nottingham's School of Medicine, said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement, which is the first collaboration of its kind between the AstraZeneca platform and a NIHR-funded research centre in the UK.

“One of the fundamental differences that biomedical research centres such as the one in Nottingham can make is in building partnerships across health, research and industry to translate innovation into new treatments for patients.”

He added: “The NIHR Nottingham BRC provides an ideal environment to undertake early experimental medicine studies and by working closely with the AstraZeneca Open Innovation platform we will be able to use our expertise in early clinical translational research to develop novel treatment approaches using drugs being developed by AstraZeneca.”

Innovative translational research

Dr Lorraine Webber, Head of Emerging Innovations at AstraZeneca’s IMED Biotech Unit, said: “We are excited to enter this collaboration with one of the UK’s key Biomedical Research Centres and look forward to working together on some innovative translational and clinical research projects. Combining the expertise of the academic and clinical experts at NIHR Nottingham BRC with AstraZeneca’s drug development capabilities is an ideal way to further the understanding of diseases and discover potential new therapies.”

The agreement will initially last for two years, and during this time, BRC scientists will have access to AstraZeneca’s extensive resources including compounds which are in various stages of clinical development, at no cost to the NHS.

IMED Biotech Unit is one of two global research and early development arms of AstraZeneca, focusing on advancing small molecules, oligonucleotides and other emerging technologies and drug discovery platforms. The Biotech Unit conducts innovative discovery research and early-stage development from initial target selection to Phase II trial completion.

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

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About the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre

The NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) was established in April 2017 to improve the health of millions of people by translating world-leading research into breakthrough treatments, innovative technologies and new medicines. It is carrying out research into six areas of health:
· hearing;
· gastrointestinal and liver diseases
· musculoskeletal (muscle and joint-related) disease
· mental health and technology
· respiratory (lung) disease
· Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which supports all areas of research
The Nottingham BRC is a partnership between Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham, supported by Nottinghamshire Healthcare and Sherwood
Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – the research arm of the NHS.

About the NIHR
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research. Established by the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR:
· funds high quality research to improve health
· trains and supports health researchers
· provides world-class research facilities
· works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
· involves patients and the public at every step
For further information, visit the NIHR website

Story credits

More information is available from Rachel Webster, Director of Communications and Engagement, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust at

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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