Hadasit, AstraZeneca to collaborate on cancer, diabetes drugs

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but they probably include a small initial payment by AstraZeneca to Hadasit.

Hadasit - the Technology Transfer Company of Hadassah Medical Organization and AstraZeneca plc (LSE; NYSE: AZN) will collaborate on discovering and developing treatments for cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but they probably include a small initial payment by AstraZeneca to Hadasit. Payments may increase if and when jointly discovered products move forward in AstraZeneca's pipeline. AstraZeneca will also be responsible for commercialization of products, if and when they reach market.

Hadasit and Hadassah scientists will work in collaboration with teams from AstraZenecas Innovative Medicines & Early Development organization for an initial period of three years.

Britain's AstraZeneca is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, specializing in the abovementioned fields, as well as cardiology and autoimmune diseases. The company posted a profit of $6.3 billion on $27.9 billion revenue in 2012. However, restructuring in recent years including the firing of 3,900 of its 57,000 employees, after several years in which most of the company's major clinical trials failed, is pushing it to improve its products pipeline now.

AstraZeneca was one of the bidders in the tender to establish a biotech incubator, but lost to a consortium of OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (TSE: 4502). Nonetheless, AstraZeneca has not given up on seeking early-stage drugs in Israel, as the current agreement with Hadasit indicates.

Hadassah Medical Center, which provides Hadasit with the technologies it commercializes, has also been in a severe financial crisis since the 2008 global financial crisis, and Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scandal, which caused the hospital's financial sources, mostly donations, to dry up. The possibility of additional external commercial support is very important for Hadasit. It already has cooperation agreements with several pharmaceutical companies, not all of which have been made public.

"AstraZeneca now has a more intense focus on early stage academic and biotech alliances. We look forward to collaborating with Hadasit on scientific research and pharmaceutical development here in Israel, said AstraZeneca Israel president David Goren. I am convinced this agreement has the potential to strengthen our pipeline of medicines in our core therapy areas."

Our collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca will create a dialogue between physicians, scholars and researchers across both companies, said Hadasit CEO Einat Zisman. The synergies created by the combined research capabilities and access to the diverse research infrastructures of both parties will produce an integrated approach to clinical research questions and the development of medicines and diagnostic tests."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 23, 2013

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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