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AstraZeneca Acquires Neuroscience Assets From Link Medicine

LONDON, July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AstraZeneca today announced that it has acquired a portfolio of neuroscience assets from Link Medicine Corporation, a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Massachusetts, USA. Link Medicine has focused its research and development efforts in the field of autophagy, an intracellular process that clears and recycles misfolded proteins and has been developing potential new treatments for a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

AstraZeneca acquired multiple small molecule assets in clinical and preclinical stage that target the enzyme farnesyltransferase and modulate autophagy. Autophagy is an emerging area of research that can be applied to a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Both of these conditions are characterised by a build-up of incorrectly folded, aggregated and ultimately neurotoxic proteins.

Neuroscience is a challenging yet highly exciting area of science where there is huge unmet medical need. The agreement is the third for AstraZeneca's new neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit, which was established earlier this year. Under this new model, AstraZeneca is continuing to invest in neuroscience discovery research and early development for small and large molecules by tapping into the best available external science. 

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make specified upfront and milestone payments and will assume all of the programme's research and development activities. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

John F. Dee, President and CEO of Link Medicine, said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with AstraZeneca, who have a strong heritage in neuroscience research and development. We are confident their scientists will accelerate the development of this truly novel programme that has broad applications in neurodegenerative diseases."

Dr. Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca, said:
"AstraZeneca is committed to neuroscience drug discovery and development, and is always looking for new ways to share cost, risk and reward with other research partners. This agreement provides us with an entry into an exciting and vital piece of research into autophagy -- an area of considerable importance in neuroscience." 

This innovative therapeutic approach is designed to restore the natural balance between the production and clearance of toxic protein aggregates. The long-term aim of this research is to develop disease-modifying drugs that will benefit patients with neurodegenerative diseases.


About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:

About AstraZeneca-Neuroscience
Neuroscience is a high risk, yet highly exciting area of science with huge unmet medical need. AstraZeneca is committed to neuroscience drug discovery and development, and is pioneering new ways to share cost, risk and reward with other research partners. We have created an Innovative Medicines Unit (iMed) in Neuroscience, with a team of experts based in major neuroscience hubs -- Boston (US) and Cambridge (UK) -- a network of partners focused on small and large molecule research, discovering and developing new treatments in neurology, psychiatry and neuropathic pain. Through this innovative approach, AstraZeneca is accessing the best science, expertise and capabilities -- wherever in the world they exist -- and progressing new projects flexibly and quickly from discovery through early development.

About Link Medicine Corporation
Link Medicine Corporation is a privately held biopharmaceutical company located in Massachusetts, USA focused on developing innovative therapeutics for neurological diseases. Link Medicine was founded by Peter T. Lansbury, Ph.D., a leading neuroscience researcher from Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital whose research focused on protein misfolding and aggregation in neurodegeneration. Major investors include Clarus Ventures, SV Life Sciences, Endurance Investments Limited, Biogen Idec New Ventures, and others, including Edward I. Rudman, a prominent Boston-based business executive and philanthropist. 

SOURCE AstraZeneca
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