AstraZeneca and UT Southwestern Medical Center Collaborate to Combat Psychiatric Illness
New Alliance Focuses on Discovery and Development of Treatments for Depression
WILMINGTON, Del., and DALLAS, Sept. 24 -- Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, affecting approximately 14.8 million adults or about 6.7 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year(1). In Texas alone, an estimated 441,488 people are living with depression(2). While some effective treatment options exist, only half of all patients with depression are fully treated with available therapies. Hence, a high need still remains for safe, effective and sustainable new medicines to manage this serious mental health condition.
To address this growing problem, AstraZeneca today announced that it will collaborate with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to accelerate scientific discovery and therapeutic advancement for depression. Scientists from both institutions will work together, leveraging unique insights and resources to further the understanding and ultimately, the treatment, of this illness.
"AstraZeneca is committed to delivering medicines that make a difference in patients' lives. AstraZeneca also has long-standing commitment to mental health and sustained investment in research to better understand the neuroscience of depression," said Frank D. Yocca, Ph.D., Vice President, CNS and Pain Research, AstraZeneca. "This collaboration with UT Southwestern will allow our scientists and theirs to share knowledge and resources, and work together to explore new pathways and genetic targets for disease management." Dr. Eric J. Nestler, professor and chairman of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, will direct this effort on behalf of UT Southwestern. A leader in psychiatric research, Dr. Nestler and his colleagues investigate the biology of stress adaptation, resilience and depression. His molecular psychiatry laboratory has produced important advances in the development of new disease models that have increased understanding of the neurochemical basis for depression.
"This relationship is exciting as it supports our fundamental research that we hope can ultimately be translated into real medicines that address unmet medical need in psychiatry," said Dr. Nestler. "This agreement represents collaboration in every sense of the word. Our scientists will work jointly with AstraZeneca scientists to share ideas, expertise and approaches with the goal of advancing science and the search for new medicines."
AstraZeneca and UT Southwestern have agreed to a three-year collaboration. This is the first of several planned new alliances between AstraZeneca and leading academic institutions to address unmet medical needs through cutting- edge research across several disease areas, including Alzheimer's disease, chronic pain and psychiatric illnesses. These proposed new agreements complement existing US-based collaborations in neuroscience with world-class institutions such as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania.
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $26.47 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.
In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $12.44 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. For nearly three decades, AstraZeneca has offered drug assistance programs side by side with its medicines, and over the past five years, has provided over $3 billion in savings to more than 1 million patients throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. AstraZeneca has been named one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" by Working Mother magazine and is the only large pharmaceutical company named to FORTUNE magazine's 2007 list of "100 Best Companies to Work For." In 2006, for the fifth consecutive year, Science magazine named AstraZeneca a "Top Employer" on its ranking of the world's most respected biopharmaceutical employers.
(1) National Institute of Mental Health, The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/numbers.cfm, accessed September 17, 2007.
(2) Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, 2001-2005 Adult Mental Health Prevalence/Priority Population Data, http://www.dads.state.tx.us/news_info/statistics/mr/docs/01- 05RevisedPrevPriPopData.pdf, accessed September 17, 2007.