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      AstraZeneca plans R&D tie-ups with Indian firms


      US-based pharmaceutical and research giant AstraZeneca is planning to collaborate with two research-based Indian pharma companies.

      The company had earlier signed a research collaboration agreement with Ahmedabad-based Torrent Pharma for discovering a novel drug candidate for the treatment of hypertension.

      The proposed R&D tie-ups of AstraZeneca in India are in the areas of central nervous system therapy and novel pain management drugs. The collaborations are part of AstraZeneca's $4 billion annual global drug discovery programme.

      "We are in talks with Indian companies, which have strong research assets in areas of CNS and pain therapy. We will have two more joined R&D projects in the country shortly," said Jitendra Patel, director, Discovery Alliances (CNS & Pain), AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP.

      The research projects of the company in India will be jointly funded with the local partner. The projects would envisage success-based payments to the Indian companies and pay royalties based on the commercialisation of the drug candidate. The local research partners may also get co-marketing product rights in India.

      "About 30 per cent of the total R&D spend of the company is utilised for external projects. The projects in India are part of the external research programme," Patel said.

      The external collaborations with biotech firms and academic institutions also contribute to AstraZeneca's R&D unit. Within North America, such collaborations broaden the range of exploratory research and allow access to a wider base of scientists and technologies.

      AstraZeneca's development resources and capabilities are aligned with disease therapy, which includes concept testing, clinical evaluation, dosage form preparation, and regulatory documentation.

      Its R&D employees consist of specialists in informatics, genomics, chemical technologies and other enabling sciences and technologies.

      AstraZeneca is one of the top investors in pharmaceutical research and development in the world. Last year, the company spent $3.8 billion on R&D.

      AstraZeneca's Global R&D organization is headquartered in Sodertalje, Sweden. It has generated a consistent flow of new prescription medicines to the market and has enhanced the company's existing products portfolio globally.
      The company's direct R&D operations in India based at Bangalore is now fully dedicated to tuberculosis drug research.

      October 18, 2005


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