AstraZeneca's newly tailored R&D operation beefs up presence in Boston area

Like several other Big Pharma companies, AstraZeneca has been steadily chopping away at its R&D structure, shedding disease groups and shuttering facilities in the U.K., Sweden and the U.S. But their loss has been Boston's gain as AZ bulks up on its scientific talent in beantown.

The Boston Globe reports that AZ now has 600 staffers at its research campus in Waltham. Another 300 work in the pharma company's manufacturing facility in Westborough. Those investigators are hard at work pursuing more than 150 academic collaborations in the big Northeastern drug hub. And AZ now has collaborations in place with Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Cubist Pharmaceuticals ($CBST) in Lexington.

Pfizer vet Martin Mackay, brought in to helm the troubled R&D operation at AZ last year, says the current structure is the end result of his "root-and-branch" analysis, focusing on fewer ailments while aiming for more new approvals.

Late-stage prospects at AstraZeneca include the diabetes drug dapagliflozin, which was rejected recently by an FDA adcomm, and the rheumatoid arthritis drug fostamatinib disodium, which could find itself in front of regulators in 2013.  

- read the story from the Boston Globe