AstraZeneca hits the blogosphere with LabTalk

London-based drug giant AstraZeneca ($AZN) has built a blog that focuses on science and research, aiming to create a forum for both the company's and external experts to share ideas, PMLive reported. The blog follows efforts at AZ to forge more alliances with scientists from outside of the company, which has been looking beyond its own walls for new breakthroughs and products.

"LabTalk" is among a number of research-focused blogs at various stages of readiness from Big Pharma as the companies endeavor to boost their profiles in the R&D community. As PMLive reports, Pfizer ($PFE) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) have blogs called "Think Science Now" and "Clinical Open Innovation," respectively. To capture insights from readers, AstraZeneca has equipped "LabTalk" with sharing tools often found on such websites. Large drugmakers have acknowledged over and over that they can't accomplish their R&D missions alone.

AstraZeneca has made cutbacks in R&D this year while boosting efforts tap universities and other outside groups for cutting edge science. For instance, the company's Neuroscience Innovative Medicines (iMed) unit—which was formed earlier this year after the company exited CNS research in Södertälje, Sweden, and Montreal--revealed an alliance in July with Weill Cornell Medical College and three other universities to tackle drug targets associated with apolipoprotein E4 genotype (ApoE) to combat Alzheimer's disease.

The company's new blog has garnered some endorsements from high up its chain of R&D command. As quoted by PMlive, Martin Mackay, chief of R&D, called the blog "a fresh and different way to engage with new and existing peers, partners and others."

- see PMLive's article