The Skolkovo Foundation has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the multinational pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca to carry out joint scientific research and educational activities in Russia.

Irina Panarina, director of AstraZeneca Russia and Eurasia, and Kirill Kaem, head of Skolkovo's biomed cluster.

AstraZeneca is currently examining the work of Skolkovo resident startups working in the field of cancer research with a view to possible cooperation. That partnership in the field of oncology will continue under a joint project to develop an innovative mathematical modelling platform that would make it possible to predict the curative potential of combinations of new cancer drugs, as well as to predict the outcome of clinical research being carried out by AstraZeneca in Russia in the field of immuno-oncology.

“This memorandum is the next step in the development of our strategic partnership with AstraZeneca, which will comprise joint work by one of the leaders on the world’s pharmaceutical market and several Skolkovo startups in fields such as bioinformatics and the development of medicines,” said Kirill Kaem, head of Skolkovo’s biomed cluster.

“We will focus in particular on furthering the development of innovative methods of treating social diseases. We have also agreed on support for educational initiatives aimed at young Russian specialists,” he said.

“Being leaders in science is a key priority for AstraZeneca,” said Irina Panarina, general director of AstraZeneca Russia and Eurasia.

“We have been working in Russia for more than a decade, and we strive to make a maximum contribution to the development of local scientific research projects. We’re glad to have a partner like Skolkovo, which fully shares our values and has an innovative way of thinking. I am sure that expanding the sphere of our joint work will open new potential,” she said.

The U.K.-headquartered AstraZeneca opened a $224 million drug manufacturing and packaging factory in Russia’s Kaluga region – something of a pharmaceuticals hub – in October 2015.