Britain's Prince Charles to open new AstraZeneca research centre


FILE PHOTO: Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles will formally open a new 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) AstraZeneca research and development (R&D) facility on Tuesday, as the company aims to fuel the growth of its drug pipeline.

AstraZeneca has supplied two billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, developed at Oxford University, and is also looking to bring a preventative antibody cocktail against COVID-19 to market.

But while the company is setting up a separate division for vaccine and antibody therapies in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it has also beefed up other areas of research

Earlier this year, AstraZeneca completed the $39 billion purchase of rare-disease specialist Alexion.

"Our new Discovery Centre in Cambridge raises the bar for sustainable R&D and global collaboration across our industry," Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

"It will allow us to break new boundaries in the understanding of disease biology, bring life-changing medicines to patients and power the next stage of our company's growth."

AstraZeneca, which has a large portfolio of treatments for diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, said the centre would support research into specialised medicines and next-generation therapeutics, including gene-editing and cell therapies.

Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth and heir to the throne, will take a walking tour of the centre and give a short address at the opening.

($1 = 0.7454 pounds)

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Mark Potter)

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