Tag Archives: Innovation

How We’re Making Medicine Personal

At AstraZeneca, we know your health is personal and that’s why we put careful consideration into determining the value and ultimately the cost of our medicines. Many factors go into these decisions such as the benefits our medicines provide to your health and their potential to reduce healthcare spending on other costlier medical procedures. Just as importantly, these decisions enable us to invest in discovering and developing future medicines where new treatments are needed.

So how do we balance providing affordable access to our medicines while ensuring their cost reflects the value they deliver to the individual patient and broader healthcare system? We understand the weight of this question. That’s why we spend countless hours not just thinking about it, but finding new ways to help you and those you care about receive the best care possible for medical conditions we focus on. We do this by developing innovative medicines and offering programs that are uniquely tailored to you. We’re also always looking for ways to make your medicines more affordable and we collaborate with stakeholders across the healthcare system in pursuit of this goal.

Put differently – if you need our medicines, we want you to have affordable access to them and for them to make a valuable difference to your health. Here’s how we’re making medicine personal through innovation, support, and collaboration:

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Through innovative approaches, patient support programs, and key collaborations within the health and biopharmaceutical industry, we’re making medicine personal to improve your health, your care, and your future.

Our medicines represent an important part of America’s healthcare dollar and it’s our job to show how these treatments can bring value to you and the entire healthcare system. In future blog posts, we look forward to sharing more about the value our treatments provide and what we are doing to improve their accessibility and affordability.


Biopharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, lead the way in improving patient health and advancing medical innovation. Find out more here.

AstraZeneca Launches Innovative BioHub in Waltham, MA

As Paul Hudson, President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America said earlier this year at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, “No one company has all the good ideas; it takes multiple partnerships and extensive collaboration to reach our goals.”

In continuing to build on our commitment to collaborate through meaningful partnerships to drive scientific progress forward, AstraZeneca was joined by Massachusetts officials last week to officially launch the Gatehouse Park BioHub in Waltham, MA. The Gatehouse Park BioHub will be one of the largest and most dynamic life-science research biohubs in the region, with more than 700 scientists and research and development (R&D) experts on-site by the end of 2015. Six companies are sharing the facilities, with two more expected to join before the end of the year.

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Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy (right) presents Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (left), with an Official Proclamation from the City of Waltham commending and congratulating AstraZeneca for the launch of the Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Kumar Srinivasan, head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston and VP Scientific Partnering and Alliances, told the audience that gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony, “At AstraZeneca, we believe that scientific innovation and great collaboration go hand in hand.

“AstraZeneca has been on a transformative journey over the past few years, placing great science at the heart of everything we do in the delivery of breakthrough medicines to patients,” said Kumar. “Our ambition is to improve the lives of 200 million people by 2025. Such a high ambition would not be possible without establishing collaborations of all types with academia and industry. The BioHub provides a fantastic opportunity to explore collaboration even further,” he said.

This new and more open research BioHub contributes to the vibrancy of the life sciences research community in the Boston area and Massachusetts as a whole. The vision of the participating companies is to continue to attract the best talent and to contribute to the synergy of the life sciences research community in Massachusetts. There will be a full range of scientific activity at the BioHub, including oncology drug discovery, antibacterial drug discovery and development, and nanotechnology.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash (left) congratulates Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (right), at a ceremony to launch AstraZeneca’s Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash (left) congratulates Kumar Srinivasan, Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston (right), at a ceremony to launch AstraZeneca’s Gatehouse Park BioHub.

Calling the BioHub a “bold initiative,” and “unique opportunity to cross-pollinate ideas,” Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary, Economic Development and Housing, congratulated AstraZeneca for the launch of the BioHub.

“You should be very proud of what you are accomplishing,” Secretary Ash said to the many scientists in attendance. “You are touching lives and giving hope to millions of people.”

Opened in 2000 as an AstraZeneca R&D site dedicated to cutting edge drug discovery, the facility is now a dynamic center where scientists from a variety of companies come together to share ideas and push the boundaries of science, with more buzz and more people than ever before. The six companies already in place are AstraZeneca, Entasis Therapeutics, Qiagen, Wellomics, Ekteino and Persomics.

This site is one of three AstraZeneca R&D sites to be transformed into a BioHub, along with Molndal, Sweden and Alderley Park, UK, where AstraZeneca researchers are working side-by-side with scientists from academic institutions to make strides in scientific discovery. AstraZeneca believes in what science can do and values the partnerships that contribute to the discoveries that ultimately help patients.

Pictured above: Left to right: Peter Blume-Jensen, Head of XTuit Pharmaceuticals; State Representative Joseph Wagner; Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy; State Representative Thomas Stanley; State Representative John Lawn; Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash; Head of AstraZeneca R&D Boston Kumar Srinivasan; State Senator Michael Rodrigues; Massachusetts Life Sciences CEO Robert Coughlin

Personalized Healthcare: More Targeted Medicines, Partnerships

By Paul Hudson, President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America

As science continues to evolve in the 21st century, medicine, treatments and diagnostics are getting smarter and more targeted to patient groups and individual patients. The healthcare system is moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to treating diseases and toward an increased focus on personalized healthcare, which tailors treatments to patients as effectively and efficiently as possible.

141021-Hudson-0285 prefAt AstraZeneca, we’re working relentlessly to do our part to provide more targeted treatments for patients – from the molecules in our pipeline to our partnerships throughout the healthcare sector.

Pipeline

Our medicines and our pipeline of new molecules are the foundation of everything we do. We know that identifying patient subgroups in which a medicine is most effective can help doctors make faster, more accurate treatment decisions. As patients continue to become increasingly involved in their own care, we’re seeing a need for innovative approaches to better deliver personalized, end-to-end treatments. This allows us to reach the right patients in the right ways at the right times with the right medicines – an important factor in successfully treating some of the world’s most deadly diseases. Investing in targeted therapies also provides the best economic value and cost savings for the healthcare system because the treatments reach precisely the patients they are intended to help, with the greatest amount of efficacy.

In order to determine the most appropriate treatment for patients, we need to be able to analyze in rapid form. At AstraZeneca, more than 80 percent of the molecules in our pipeline have been evaluated for their personalized healthcare potential. We estimate that nearly half of our product launches between now and 2020 will use a companion diagnostic to target the patients most likely to benefit. What happens to each individual patient is becoming more relevant, and we’re facing a situation for the first time where information and data are overlapping with medicines and research & development.

For example, tumor testing has long been the gold standard for determining a patient’s epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) status, which is seen in many patients with non-small cell lung cancer. However, many patients do not have a tumor sample or have one of insufficient quality to test. To reach these patients, AstraZeneca is collaborating to develop blood-based testing methods that detect minute quantities of DNA that can, in turn, detect mutations like EGFR.

Put simply, blood-based testing is faster, cheaper and less invasive for patients. Over time, these personalized approaches to care could have the potential to improve the overall survival rate of patients treated for cancer, giving us the potential to change outcomes for patients on a meaningful scale.

Health System Benefits

More targeted medicines and tests alone are not the only answer. In order to forge new approaches and generate the most value from innovation, we need to recognize that no one company has all the good ideas; it takes multiple partnerships and extensive collaboration to reach our goals. Partnerships are helping to drive more intense value and delivery across the industry, as highly skilled drug development teams and diagnostic partners are working with the world’s regulatory authorities to help shape the treatment pathways for personalized healthcare and support smart clinical trial design.

Innovative technologies allow for laser-guided patient focus. We can develop integrated biomarker and diagnostic plans that will speed development and deliver personalized treatments for patients. For example, Lung Cancer Master Protocol (Lung-MAP), for which AstraZeneca is a pioneering contributor, serves as a way to use genomic profiling to match patients to one of several investigational drugs that are designed to target genomic alternations found to be driving the growth of their cancer.

Working together – with researchers, regulators, payers, policymakers and key stakeholders – we can deliver more effective treatments on a patient-by-patient basis that will ultimately improve health for individuals, families and society as whole.

Paul Hudson is President, AstraZeneca US and Executive Vice President, North America. You can see him speak on medical research at Bloomberg here.

Personalized Medicine takes Spotlight at Thought Leader Event

Personalized medicine can take on many different meanings based on one’s perspective and experience, which made for lively debate as the topic took center stage at AstraZeneca’s latest thought leadership dinner held in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the National Journal. On Monday, October 20, AstraZeneca executives brought together industry leaders and stakeholders to discuss the current state and future of personalized medicine.

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Rich Buckley, Vice President, North America Corporate Affairs and Dave Fredrickson, Vice President, Specialty Care, mingle with guests.

The event was the third of a series this year, the first focusing on patient centricity and the second on value in healthcare. Dave Fredrickson, Vice President, Specialty Care; Will Mongan, Vice President, Business Development, New Product Planning and Foundations Portfolio; and Rich Buckley, Vice President, North America Corporate Affairs led a group of 14 industry experts and executives – including patient advocates, providers, academia, media and other key stakeholders – in a discussion about the concept of personalized medicine

Participants agreed that the paradigm of treatment and delivery for care in today’s healthcare system is rapidly shifting, and patients are at the heart of this transformation. Many attendees also agreed that regulations need to keep pace with innovation, and that some level of collaboration will be necessary across the system in order for doctors, academia, payers, providers, regulators and drug companies to produce meaningful outcomes. This is complicated by the fact that the roles of these key stakeholders are changing, making it more difficult to reach a consensus about what matters to patients and what the guideposts for development should be.

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(Left to right) Sheila Walcoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Goldbug Strategies, LLC; Marilyn Werber Serafini, Vice President, Policy, Alliance for Health Reform; Will Mongan, Vice President, Business Development, AstraZeneca; J. Russell Teagarden, Senior Vice President, Medical and Scientific Affairs, National Organization for Rare Disorders

Patients are becoming increasingly involved in their own care and diagnosis, along with their doctors. This allows greater potential for doctors to personalize patient care and to observe patients in real-time to improve outcomes and adherence. Attendees said that in order to determine the most appropriate treatment for patients, providers need to be able to analyze in rapid form. The current regulatory system contains administrative and procedural hurdles that call for more evidence and increased scientific validity. In order to keep up with the current transformation, we need to reexamine the burden of proof with respect to evidence, as well as approaches to clinical practice and innovation to ensure that treatments can become more patient-centric.

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(Left to right) Paul Sheives, Director, Diagnostics and Personalized Medicine Policy, Biotechnology Industry Organization; Robert Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader Magazine; Sheila Walcoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Goldbug Strategies, LLC

While seeking a common definition for personalized medicine, some participants talked about it as a goal, others as an art or a tool; some defined it as precision medicine, and others thought the definition was unimportant. All participants agreed that the system must shift in terms of regulation, though some called for a fundamental redesign, while others asked simply for incremental changes. One participant added that no matter what we call it, we are all united in our collective goal to provide cures to patients in a world of transformation.

The dinner was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

AZ Announces TEDMED2014 Sponsorship

A healthier world does not come from medicine alone. Through innovative discoveries, new approaches to medicine and health, and thought-provoking dialogue with the brightest minds across a wide variety of sectors, we are able to make a consequential difference to the healthcare community as a whole. Sustaining this forward-thinking approach affects the lives of all populations in the healthcare ecosystem, from patients and caregivers to scientists, physicians, and the broader health system. This is why AstraZeneca is supporting TEDMED2014 as a Corporate Innovation Patron.

TEDMED1This year’s conference focuses on nine themes aimed at unlocking the imagination, many of which align with AstraZeneca’s vision and values. One of TEDMED’s themes, “Flat Out Amazing,” for example, explores the liberation that happens when we recognize the limits of our knowledge – those transformational moments when we realize that the more we know, the more we realize how little we know. Speakers will include Diana Nyad, who swam 110-miles from Havana to Key West at age 64, and Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the revolutionary blood diagnostics company Theranos.

Other relevant TEDMED topics are “Stealing Smart,” demonstrating how some of the best solutions to problems in health and medicine can come from other worlds than the domain where the problem originated, or the controversial issues in health and medicine that many people are reluctant to discuss publicly that will be tackled in “Don’t You Dare Talk About This.”

TEDMED also features The Hive, a community of startups and entrepreneurs powering transformation and innovation towards a healthier future. Selected from hundreds of applications and nominations, these inspiring leaders will be showcasing game-changing startups and the inspiring entrepreneurs that power them at TEDMED 2014 in both San Francisco and Washington, DC. This year, AstraZeneca will send a team of 10 leaders and representatives to attend the conference in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco, CA, and encourages all global employees to join virtually.

Follow the conversation in real-time on Twitter with #TEDMED and @TEDMED. Stay tuned to TEDMED’s YouTube channel over the coming month as they release videos of this year’s Talks.

TEDMED logoAbout TEDMED: TEDMED is the annual multi-disciplinary gathering where leaders from all sectors of society come together to explore the promise of technology and the potential of human achievement in health and medicine. Bringing together doctors, patients, policymakers, technologists, educators, students, media, researchers, innovators, and many others, TEDMED shares and celebrates the best of what the world has to offer in health and medicine.

TEDMED, LLC is an independent organization. The TED logo is used under an exclusive license from the nonprofit TED conference. For more information, please visit www.TEDMED.com.

Industry Experts Join AZ Leaders to Discuss Value in Healthcare

How is value defined by healthcare’s many stakeholders? How can the priorities of these stakeholders be pursued to get the best result for patients? How can the U.S. healthcare system improve patient health, while lowering the cost of care?

Paul Spittle, Vice President of Growth and Marketing, AstraZeneca

Paul Spittle, Vice President of Growth and Marketing, AstraZeneca

These questions and others were explored on Monday, July 14, as AstraZeneca executives – including Paul Spittle, Vice President of Growth and Marketing; Diane Sullivan, Vice President of Market Access & Patient Strategies; and Rich Buckley, Vice President of North America Corporate Affairs – hosted a group of industry experts in Washington, D.C. for a dinner discussion about the concept of value in today’s evolving healthcare environment.

Participants represented a broad range of stakeholders, from insurance and hospital executives, to nonprofit groups, policy experts and media. Julie Rovner, Robin Toner Distinguished Fellow and Senior Correspondent for Kaiser Health News, served as moderator for the discussion.

Rich Buckley, Vice President of North America Corporate Affairs and Diane Sullivan, Vice President of Market Access & Patient Strategies, AstraZeneca

Rich Buckley, Vice President of North America Corporate Affairs and Diane Sullivan, Vice President of Market Access & Patient Strategies, AstraZeneca

Participants discussed how the definitions and perceptions of value are wide-ranging and constantly evolving (over time and through changing circumstances), making it difficult to identify effective and sustainable solutions to improve healthcare.  Despite these challenges, the group explored a number of actions that can be taken to help strengthen and preserve the quality of healthcare for patients while controlling costs — from better harnessing the power of available data and technology, to offering wellness and preventable care programs, to engaging patients in the health value discussion in a truly meaningful way.

The dinner was part of a series of events coordinated by National Journal LIVE, a premier events business that convenes top leaders in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss possible solutions to the country’s biggest challenges.

Senator Mikulski Visits AZ’s Frederick Manufacturing Center

On Monday, July 14, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, visited AstraZeneca’s Frederick Manufacturing Center in Maryland to learn more about the complex process of biologics manufacturing and the role of the facility in producing medicines used by millions of patients worldwide.

14 July 2014 AstraZeneca Frederick Biotech (2)During the visit, the Senator joined AstraZeneca executives in a discussion about the importance of innovation in biotechnology, and how the company and the industry are working to make a positive impact on community health and the local economy. AstraZeneca also provided the Senator an overview of its Frederick manufacturing operations situated on a 33 acre campus and consisting of three buildings, where the company manufactures both commercial and clinical biologics. Afterward, the Senator met and mingled with employees over lunch.

14 July 2014 AstraZeneca Frederick Biotech“In Maryland, life sciences are the life blood of our economy. Here at AstraZeneca, I heard first-hand the importance of biotech in promoting community health and supporting research, innovation and manufacturing jobs here in Frederick,” said Senator Mikulski.
“I’m proud to support research and innovation jobs in Maryland’s biotech industry, keeping our state competitive in the global economy. By working to develop safe and effective treatments, we can help ensure that our nation’s health care providers have the tools they need to keep families healthy.”

AMikulski 1CstraZeneca’s Frederick Manufacturing Center is an FDA licensed, large-scale cell culture production facility, with hundreds of thousands of square feet of administrative, production, warehouse, laboratory and utility space. The center is the largest biologics manufacturing facility within AstraZeneca’s global network and portfolio of assets, and a global industry leader in cell culture manufacturing.

The Frederick Manufacturing Center has been recognized with a number of awards, including an Economic Development Project Award from the Department of Economic Development for the City of Frederick, and a Silver Award as part of the Healthy Workplace Award Program, a joint effort among Frederick’s Regional Health System, the county Health Department, and the Chamber of Commerce, honoring businesses for their commitment to employee health and well-being.

Why patents matter

The principal economic safeguard in our industry is a well-functioning patent system that recognizes our effort and rewards our innovation with appropriate protection.

We have blogged quite a bit about U.S. patent reform but wanted to provide context on why patents and other forms of intellectual property are important to the biopharmaceutical industry.

First, what is a patent?

A patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent, usually 20 years from the filing date.

Why do patents matter to our industry?

The discovery and development of a new medicine requires a significant investment of resources by research-based pharmaceutical companies over a period of 10 or more years (click here for an interactive look at the process).

Biopharmaceutical companies often file for a patent on a promising research project early on in this process, meaning that the patent term begins long before a potential new medicine gets to market. In fact, patents can be expired before drug approval, issued after drug approval, and anywhere in between.

For this to be a viable investment, the results – new medicines – must be safeguarded from being copied with a reasonable amount of certainty for a reasonable period of time so the industry can generate the revenue it needs to reinvest in new medicines.

Are patents the only form of intellectual property protection for medicines?

Regulatory Data Protection (or ‘data exclusivity’) is an important intellectual property right concerning data we are required to submit to regulatory authorities in order to obtain marketing approvals for our medicines. Significant investment is required to generate such data (for example, through conducting global clinical trials); and this proprietary data is protected from use by third parties (such as generic manufacturers) for a number of years in a limited number of countries. The period of such protection and the extent to which the right is respected differs significantly between these countries.

This FDA fact sheet on patents and data exclusivity explains that in the US, data exclusivity represents exclusive marketing rights granted by the FDA upon approval of a drug and can run concurrently with a patent or not. Data exclusivity is designed to promote a balance between new drug innovation and generic drug competition.

Where can I learn more?

For more information, visit the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform at http://www.patentsmatter.com.

Making patent reform a priority

It’s heartening to see Senate Majority Leader Reid place patent reform legislation at the top of the agenda when Congress returns from recess.

The Senate will take up the House’s version of a bipartisan patent reform bill immediately after its summer recess in hopes of putting a bill on the president’s desk before the fall, The Hill reports.

The modernizing and strengthening of the U.S. patent system will encourage precisely what a strong patent system should – research and development of                                             innovative products and technologies throughout the economy.

More information on this legislation is available here.