The move reaffirms AZ's desire to streamline its pipeline and increase activity in finding therapeutics for diabetes and obesity, infection, inhalation projects, and analgesia. It also confirms AZ's interest in the biotechnology sector by investing in its site in one of the world's biotechnology hubs. David Brennan, CEO at AZ, initiated the shift in focus soon after his appointment in 2006.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 41 per cent of the global disease burden is due to infection and set to get worse as resistance to current antibacterials continues to grow. Meanwhile, the introduction of new antibiotics has stagnated with only ten being approved since 1998.
"This investment will significantly boost our research capabilities in two critical areas of medical need, and two areas where we have tremendous heritage," said David Brennan.
"It will provide additional resources for our scientists who are tackling more complex diseases than ever before, as they work towards our ultimate goal of giving people hope for a healthier future."
The strategic site gives AZ access to the scientific talent and emerging science in the hub as well as potential partners and collaborators.
Work will begin on the 132,000 square foot expansion during the first quarter of 2007 and will house a further 100 researchers. Upon completion, expected in 2009, the site will be 382,000 square feet. This is the second expansion of the site, which was expanded from 170,000 to 250,000 square feet in 2000.
Researchers at the Boston site have already discovered three potential drugs for the treatment of various cancers, including: breast, ovarian, thyroid and prostate, as well as two novel-class candidate drugs to potentially treat skin infections, serious cases of chronic bronchitis and severe pneumonias.