AstraZeneca, Crystera and The University of Queensland enter into joint pioneering R&D collaboration

Collaboration between AstraZeneca, Crystera and The University of Queensland aims to focus on P450 enzymes.


AstraZeneca today announced a research collaboration with Crystera, Russia and The University of Queensland, Australia. Building on previous work between AstraZeneca and the research group of Professor Elizabeth Gillam at The University of Queensland (UQ), this innovative collaboration aims to crystalize ancestral cytochrome P450 enzymes for use as biocatalysts in drug research and development. Successful crystallization of these ancestors will enable comparison of structures with human enzymes to gain insight into structural features that promote thermostability, catalytic activity and substrate specificity.

Crystera is one of the six winners of the 2018 AstraZeneca Startup Challenge – one of the biggest acceleration programs for life science startups in Russia, which AstraZeneca runs in collaboration with Skolkovo Foundation. The new research collaboration is a result of the effective partnership between the Russian Health Innovation Hub and AstraZeneca’s Cardiovascular Renal and Metabolism (CVRM) Search and Evaluation team, led by Dr. Ratan Bhat.

The collaboration is being implemented within the framework of the Emerging Markets Health Innovation Hubs initiative of AstraZeneca to create integrated science ecosystems through local bio-hubs across the world. These Health Innovation Hubs improve local capacity for R&D to address local needs and reinforce our commitment to create and strengthen partnerships across emerging biomedical clusters to accelerate innovation, increase healthcare access and improve outcomes for society and patients.

“We are actively involved in helping to foster Russian scientific potential and constantly searching for promising ideas and solutions to improve lives of millions of patients. Having extensive experience in developing local scientific initiatives, we strive to provide a wide range of opportunities and resources as well as to promote innovative cooperation in experience and data exchange. This project will be one of the first examples of successful cooperation between the International region and local companies, scientific and research groups within the framework of our Emerging Markets Health Innovation Hubs, which may result in breakthrough solutions in the field of healthcare”, says Aleksandr Bedenkov, MD, PhD is Vice President Medical International at AstraZeneca

Each young biotech company has to set ambitious goals and be ready to face numerous challenges on its way to industrial maturity. We are very proud to be a part of this international research collaboration and will put our best efforts to achieve a common goal”, says Alexei Kliuchenovich, MD, CEO at Crystera LLC.

Dr. Dean Moss, CEO of UQ’s technology transfer company UniQuest said the partnership with AstraZeneca builds on UQ’s ongoing relationship with the global biopharmaceutical company. “This partnership brings together AstraZeneca’s expertise in drug discovery and development, Crystera’s exciting work in the use of cytochrome P450 enzymes and UQ’s innovative research in the area of ancestral cytochrome P450 enzymes. UniQuest is proud to play a part in this global collaboration”, Dr. Moss said.



AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Website:

Crystera is a private biotech company focused on discovery and development of novel therapeutics targeting Cytochromes P450 – a superfamily of proteins, widely distributed in all kingdoms of life and involved in crucial metabolic pathways. Based on scientific expertise in structural biology the company has developed a technological platform representing a modular workflow for rational drug discovery in diversified clinical indications.

The University of Queensland has maintained a reputation for excellence for more than a century by delivering knowledge leadership for a better world. UQ consistently ranks among the world’s top universities, reflecting UQ’s global standing, the high quality of our researchers, teaching staff and alumni, and our reputation for excellence.