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AstraZeneca to fight superbugs

23rd January 2007

Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical group, AstraZeneca, is expected to announce £51m in investment funds for the research and development of drugs to treat superbugs like MRSA.

The money, which will be spent in the US, will fund up to 100 extra researchers who will focus mainly on anti-infectives in the fight to stay ahead of MRSA and other superbugs.   Infectious diseases kill millions of people each year and resistance to traditional antibiotic treatments presents a growing threat to world health.

The move marks a strategic change for the company, increasing its activities in US drug development, alongside continued research and development projects in the UK and Sweden.  The new funding is thought to be part of chief executive David Brennan’s strategic review.  His new vision for AstraZeneca has led to greater emphasis on fewer promising therapy areas and growth in biological medicines, alongside the company’s historical focus on “small molecule? chemical drugs.

AstraZeneca currently sells just one anti-infective, echoing the current slide in drug company investment into these drugs in recent years.  However, the group now aims to develop two anti-infective candidate drugs a year ready to move from pre-clinical research into testing on humans.

 

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