Tufts joins AstraZeneca's virtual CNS drug development team

AstraZeneca ($AZN) has enlisted Tufts University's School of Medicine in its virtual campaign to develop new drugs in the neurosciences field.

The pharma giant says Tufts will lend its help in creating a team of postdocs who will plumb such tough targets as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and autism in search of new therapies. They will be working together in the lab over the course of at least three years.

AstraZeneca chopped down much of its big infrastructure for CNS research during its ongoing restructuring efforts. But rather than abandon the field at a time other Big Pharma companies were becoming increasingly choosy about their CNS work, AstraZeneca carved out a virtual team charged with finding outside investigators, CROs and other vendors to contribute to the work. And they've significantly increased their presence in the thriving Boston biotech hub.

"The patient need for new treatments across the neuroscience spectrum is growing and my team has the flexibility to work with the best institutions to advance the science and translate it into new medicines," notes Mike Poole, vice president of the AstraZeneca Neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit. 

- here's the press release
- check out FierceCRO's take

Special Report: 20 Major Pharma-Academic Alliances in 2012

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