AstraZeneca to shut down R&D site in Bangalore

I was just informed that some of our collaborators in the MM4TB project will be losing their jobs as AZ closes the site in India.

While I totally understand that no job is for life, there is no stability in pharma anymore and it does not matter if you are in the UK, USA or India it seems.

This hurts on so many levels. As collaborators I have enjoyed many great discussions at MM4TB meetings around Europe with AZ scientists. As someone we work with its distressing, because you wonder who is going to pick up the pieces. AZ were screening their libraries and obviously doing their own projects on TB outside of MM4TB too. Its also sad because the very place that has a TB and malaria problem, is losing a productive lab that could help find future treatments.

The statement “This decision is part of AstraZeneca’s broader global business strategy to simplify its research and development footprint and focus resources on three core therapy areas – , cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity,” is telling – so they are forgetting about the approx 4M people that die annually of TB and malaria or other infectious or neglected diseases ..oops sorry we can make money elsewhere. No but wait “The company will no longer carry out early stage research into neglected tropical diseases, TB and malaria. However, AstraZeneca will continue to progress AZD5847, its phase II programme for TB. In addition, the company’s compound library will continue to be made available through open innovation partnerships and AstraZeneca will continue to provide expertise to help advance existing third-party neglected tropical diseases, malaria and TB research programmes for the benefit of patients. ” what does all that mean? They have a me-too Oxazolidinone that they will pin their money on and will provide their library to existing projects? How though can they provide expertise when they have lost all their experts..What is a third-party neglected tropical disease? Typo or new classification?

A sad, sad day for these scientists and another set back for neglected disease research.




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  1. sean says:

    Afterthought – will the Indian Govt try to create a center of excellence?

  2. sean says:

    Afterthought 2: Time for a rethink. We have to be more efficient right, we have to use the data we have already and there is lots of it and just drive to getting drugs for TB ASAP. Same with malaria. We can wait for companies like AZ, GSK etc or they can pull a crazy stunt like this..Its just not going to happen. We have to be realistic. These companies need to make money, they do not see TB, Malaria as a way to do that.

    We have to find another route. Probably many routes to cover for loss of funding, etc..Time for NIH, EC and Gates to just work together.

    Its stupid we have multiple groups globally doing the same thing, time to collaborate. How many Mmpl3 inhibitors do we need people, same for just about every other TB target. Fact is we suck compared to the golden age of TB research in 40’s and 50s and no amount of cash or big names getting involved is going to change that. Attitudes have to change because this will not be the last thing that happens to our field. Neglected disease researchers have to realize we cannot do research how we have been doing it for last decade or so, as we are spinning our wheels. We have to do what was done 60-70 years ago and that means getting more compounds in vivo in the mouse to have any hope of success. Enough in vitro..and that means refocus the dollars, I think we need to identify hits and optimize them cheaply.

  3. sean says:

    This was recently passed on to me..I also received it in my email too

    Dawn Van Dam, General Manager of Cambridge Healthtech Associates

    January 28, 2014

    In an attempt to outline the opportunities and challenges within the biopharmaceutical industry, I interviewed several leaders in the field.

    One such interview was with a Senior Manager of Business Development at a world-leading biotechnology company. We discussed the need for collaboration to support drug innovation to address the increasing scientific complexity in present-day medicine.

    According to the interviewee, the biology and chemistry behind developing new drugs is becoming more complex, “Addressing this complexity is a huge undertaking… too huge for a single pharma company to do it alone.” This, along with other factors, is making drug innovation progressively more difficult. It is critical to find a solution if pharmaceutical and biotech companies are to survive and come out of this “drug recession” with new alternatives to help patients.

    The most common answer to this problem has been collaboration to support drug innovation. Both the interviewee and I believe that the consortium approach is becoming increasingly important to the industry. We view consortia as an opportunity to discover what questions need to be addressed in the industry and then collaboratively come up with a solution, in a non-competitive environment of learning and improvement for all. By creating a team of experts who simultaneously focus on one solution, there is a greater chance to overcome the increasing complexity of modern medicine.

    In fact, according to a recent IBM study that interviewed over 1,700 CEOs, most companies clearly see the benefits of working with others. The study states that nearly 70 percent of CEOs aim to partner extensively. The study also shows that companies who partner tend to outperform and innovate better than companies who are entirely focused on working only with their internal resources. Although this study was researched across all industries, it still serves to reiterate the need for collaboration to support drug innovation.

    One of the major obstacles holding companies back from joining a consortium and collaborating is a disconnect between the science and business ends of the organization. This downside, and how it can stifle collaboration to support drug innovation, was discussed in both the interview and the IBM study. The simple solution is to obtain a trusted mediator to facilitate the process.

    CHA’s Technology Evaluation ConsortiumTM (TEC) is one way companies have been teaming up in non-competitive settings. The TEC works to drive the development of novel technologies in a way pharmaceutical and biotech companies cannot do individually. A consortium project brings together a number of industry leaders, and one or more solution providers, to share ideas and address specific issues in a timely and cost-effective way.

    To support this TEC initiative, CHA also brings together leading professionals in the life sciences through our online communities. These communities provide a platform for discussion regarding collaboration to support drug innovation, and help to address some of the industry’s leading concerns.

    The Drug Safety Executive CouncilTM (DSEC) is an online community focused on the advancement and development of better and safer medicines worldwide. It is a community that helps network people within the drug safety industry.Next Generation Sequencing LeadersTM (NGS Leaders) is an online community created to advance the use and value of next-gen sequencing, genomics, bioinformatics and personalized medicine through knowledge-sharing. The community is geared towards providing industry and academia with a way to share information.

    Please participate in this important discussion on collaboration to support drug innovation by joining us in social media: follow us on Twitter or connect with us through Facebook and LinkedIn.

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