AstraZeneca taps IT outsourcing firm Cognizant

AstraZeneca ($AZ) has tapped outsourcing firm Cognizant ($CTSH) to take on a range of duties for the London-based drug giant, which aims to "streamline" its clinical development work, a company official stated.

As the drugmaker seeks ways to be efficient in developing medicines, the multi-year pact calls for Cognizant to provide statistical programming, statistical analysis and several related services, according to a press release. To enable teams to all over the world to share data on clinical studies, Cognizant said, the firm plans to support AstraZeneca with its proprietary web-based platform. Cognizant says it's been providing business and tech support to AZ since 2004.

"Cognizant will help us streamline our clinical development operations," Karin Wingstrand, vice president and head of clinical development at AstraZeneca, said in a statement. "Leveraging Cognizant's IT and business process expertise allows AstraZeneca to focus more time, energy, and investment on those clinical activities that will make a difference in developing innovative medicines more quickly for patients."

AstraZeneca has some good reasons to want to bring new drugs to market quickly. Its blockbuster antipsychotic Seroquel is due to lose patent exclusivity next year, opening the door to competition. The drugmaker has also made a number of cutbacks in recent years in response to drug pricing pressures and generic drug competition, resulting in the layoffs of thousands of workers.

- here's Cognizant's release

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