UNITED KINGDOM – AstraZeneca, a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company has opened a billion-pound research center near the University of Cambridge hoping to build on the work in developing one of the first Covid-19 vaccines.
The research center is a 19,000 square-meter complex that will house more than 2,200 research scientists.
It will contribute to AstraZeneca’s focus on specialized and precision medicines, as well as the discovery and development of next-generation therapeutics such as nucleotide-based, gene-editing, and cell therapies.
The DISC will complement AstraZeneca’s R&D presence in over 40 countries, including strategic research centers in Sweden and the United States, as well as development facilities in China and Japan.
The Cambridge life sciences cluster entails a huge umbrella of over 600 companies that employ about 21,000 people.
Every year, the company invests more than US$9.37 billion (7 billion pounds) in R&D around the world, with the UK accounting for a sizable portion of that total.
The Centre will aid in the further development of partnerships, the development of the next generation of science leaders, and the acceleration of AstraZeneca’s industry-leading levels of productivity.
AstraZeneca announced last week that it would begin selling the vaccine at a “modest” profit, while continuing to provide it at no cost to developing countries.
Astra’s R&D footprint
The Company’s three strategic R&D centers include the DISC in Cambridge, Gaithersburg, Maryland in the greater Washington, D.C. region of the United States, and Gothenburg, Sweden.
Using its unique scientific capabilities, it has integrated R&D teams and accelerated decision-making processes to deliver one of the most productive pipelines in the industry.
Since 2005, AstraZeneca has nearly attained six-fold increase in the proportion of its pipeline molecules that have progressed from preclinical investigation to completion of Phase III clinical trials – from 4% to 23%.
This increase puts AstraZeneca well above the industry average success rate of 14 percent for the 2018-2020 timeframe.
The Facility boasts a total of 48 stainless-steel bioreactors at various scales, boasts a production capacity of 185,000 liters, exceeding its original planned capacity of 150,000 litres, and has created 500 new jobs.
The Large-Scale Cell Culture (LSCC) is one of the most advanced in its own league, boasting a high degree of digitalization and automation through smart technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.
The plant, touted as a state-of-the-art facility is structured to allow a faster manufacturing handoff from one product to another as well as simultaneous production of various products. It allows changeovers from one product to the other within a short time.