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AstraZeneca signs up first Cambridge partners in cancer research

LONDON (Reuters) - British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed its first research partnerships in Cambridge for cancer treatments ahead of its relocation to the university city by 2016.

The firm said it would work on three oncology projects with Cancer Research UK and the University of Cambridge's department of oncology at Addenbrooke's Hospital, located next to the site for its new research center and headquarters.

The projects include using blood tests to monitor tumors instead of biopsies, potential drugs for prostate cancer, and new approaches for pancreatic cancer, which has a very poor prognosis and few treatments available, the company said on Tuesday.

AstraZeneca's move to Cambridge is the centerpiece of $2.3 billion restructuring plan unveiled by new chief executive Pascal Soriot in March. It confirmed last month that it would be based at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Susan Galbraith, head of AstraZeneca's Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit, said it was fitting that the first collaborations since announcing the move were in cancer because its Cambridge facility will become its largest center for oncology research.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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