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2015-05-13

AstraZeneca: AstraZeneca and Montreal Heart Institute to screen 80,000 samples for cardiovascular and diabetes genetic traits

AstraZeneca today announced a collaboration with the Montreal Heart
Institute (MHI) in Quebec, Canada, to search the genomes of up to
80,000 patients for genes associated with cardiovascular diseases and
diabetes, their complications and treatment outcomes. This is one of
the largest such screens of its type to date and will drive
understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying these
conditions and their complications. The analysis will also uncover
which genetic traits are linked to better treatment outcomes.

Under the collaboration, MHI will genotype up to 80,000 DNA samples
from AstraZeneca's extensive biobank. The samples include both tissue
and blood samples, which have been collected over a period of 12
years under informed consent from patients who have entered clinical
trials to test cardiovascular or diabetes treatments.

MHI's Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre will initially use an
approach called genome-wide SNP analysis to identify regions of DNA
that predispose to, or cause, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes or
are associated with responses to treatments. They will then apply
other technologies, such as next-generation sequencing, to carry out
full gene sequencing of areas of interest to identify new genes
associated with disease, with complications such as heart attacks,
strokes, diabetic nephropathy or retinopathy, and with treatment
outcomes in terms of responsiveness to medication.

The knowledge gained from genotyping the samples will be applied to
the development of new medicines tailored to treat subsets of
patients with particular genetic profiles. The information will also
enable a personalised healthcare approach to the use of existing
treatments, which means using specific medicines to treat the patient
populations that are most likely to respond. Currently, approximately
80% of AstraZeneca's pipeline benefits from a personalised healthcare
approach.

Ruth March, Vice President, Personalised Healthcare and Biomarkers at
AstraZeneca said: "We're delighted to be working with the Montreal
Heart Institute, which has the expertise and technological know-how
to deliver this transformational programme which will unlock an
unprecedented amount of genetic information about cardiovascular
diseases and diabetes. Together, we are taking personalised
healthcare beyond its great heritage in oncology to bring targeted
medicines to patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes using
biomarkers and diagnostic tests."

Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, Director of the Montreal Heart Institute
Research Center and holder of both the Canada Research Chair in
personalised and translational medicine and the Université de
Montréal endowed research chair in atherosclerosis, said: "This
large-scale partnership between AstraZeneca and the Montreal Heart
Institute holds great potential for breakthroughs in personalised
cardiovascular medicine and diabetes whereby medications will be
tailored to responsive patients based on their genetic profile. Here
at the MHI Pharmacogenomics Centre we have the expertise and
high-throughput genomic platforms to carry out successfully and
efficiently this important research programme."

According to its `open innovation' approach to research and
development, AstraZeneca will work with MHI to publish findings in
peer-reviewed journals, contributing to broader scientific
understanding of these disease conditions.

- ENDS -

About the Montreal Heart Institute

Founded in 1954 by Dr. Paul David, the Montreal Heart Institute
constantly aims for the highest standards of excellence in the
cardiovascular field through its leadership in clinical and basic
research, ultra-specialized care, professional training and
prevention. It is affiliated with the Université de Montréal.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business
that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of
prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of
cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune,
oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates
in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by
millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:
www.astrazeneca.com

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