) recently signed a research collaboration agreement with
Vanderbilt University for the identification of candidates for
the treatment of psychosis and other neuropsychiatric symptoms
associated with major brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease
The agreement provides exclusively licensed rights to
AstraZeneca to compounds developed by the Vanderbilt Center for
Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) that act on the M4 muscarinic
Both AstraZeneca and Vanderbilt University plan to work
together to identify additional M4 compounds and further develop
the existing compounds.
As per the agreement, Vanderbilt is entitled to get an upfront
payment coupled with milestone payments and royalties on global
sales of products which will be developed under the
collaboration. AstraZeneca will also fund the required research
for a couple of years for Vanderbilt.
AstraZeneca's expertise in drug development and translational
science should complement VCNDD's expertise in drug
The company believes that there is a lot of scope for
development in the areas of chronic pain, cognitive disorders and
other serious central nervous system disorders. We are also
encouraged by AstraZeneca's focus on the high-potential emerging
markets. We are pleased with the company's efforts to expand its
pipeline and portfolio through mergers and acquisitions.
However, we remain concerned about the generic competition
faced by AstraZeneca's key products. The weak late-stage pipeline
at AstraZeneca coupled with slow Brilinta uptake also bothers
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on AstraZeneca
which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Pharma stocks which currently look attractive are
Johnson & Johnson
) which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
ASTRAZENECA PLC (AZN): Free Stock Analysis
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis
SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.