Drug companies forge partnerships with top schools

by Alan Scher Zagier

(AP)—Pharmaceutical companies that can no longer rely on lucrative patents to drive profits are increasingly teaming up with academia in search of the next big drug discovery.

., Astra Zeneca PLC and and Co. are among the drug makers signing seven-figure, multiyear agreements with schools such as New York University, Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco. The deals give campus scientists access to once-proprietary experimental owned by the corporate labs.

Big Pharma has long sought to profit from campus research. But rather than focus on specific projects, the two sides are now joining forces in unprecedented ways—often as equal partners.

Most rely on "template" agreements that spell out intellectual property and other legal issues.

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