The deal is with Jubilant Biosys, the Indian subsidiary of Jubilant Organosys, and follows similar ventures the group has entered into with companies including Eli Lilly, Amgen and Orion.
Under the terms of the deal Jubilant will deliver drug candidates to the AZ’s preclinical pipeline in return for research funding, milestone payments and royalties.
Hari Bhartia, co-chairman and managing director at Jubilant, said: "We are very pleased to partner with AstraZeneca, this collaboration will leverage the innovative capabilities of AstraZeneca and Jubilant Biosys in providing a robust global drug discovery model.
“Through this partnership, Jubilant is confident of contributing to AstraZeneca's preclinical portfolio and anticipates significant rewards from successful downstream milestones. This partnership furthers Jubilant's strategy to be India's largest provider of innovative and integrated pharmaceutical solutions, enabling the global pharmaceutical industry's quest to discover affordable innovative medicines."
AZ will own the compounds found by Jubilant and have the worldwide development and commercialisation rights. The collaboration is due to span an initial five year period.
“More shots on goal” for AZ
Jan Lundberg, executive vice-president of global discovery at AZ, believes that entering into the deal will provide it with a “sustainable discovery pipeline” and help it become a “lean and agile organisation”.
Lundberg went on to say that the deal “is a concrete example of the innovative approaches” AZ that will give it “more shots on goal” to develop its pipeline withoutentering in to a mega-merger.
AZ appears to have ruled itself out of making a big acquisition, with David Brennan, CEO of AZ, telling the Financial Times that the company “is more oriented toward collaboration than consolidation”.
Consequently AZ’s acquisition strategy will focus on small companies, products or technology but this makes it difficult to replenish its late-stage pipeline, an issue that Brennan acknowledges.