AstraZeneca COPD partnership

We have joined forces with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to investigate new ways to combat the growing threat of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Fighting breathlessness

The WISH lab has entered into a strategic partnership with AstraZeneca Innovative Medicines in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a long term collaboration to investigate the effects of viral infection in COPD.

COPD is the fourth most common cause of death worldwide, and death rates continue to rise with limited therapeutic options. Inflammation of the lungs narrows the airways and causes severe breathlessness, with periods of acutelyworsening symptoms. These are often the result of infections by viruses such as rhinovirus and influenza, but it is unclear why these viral infections lead to flair-ups.

Industry standard quality

The WISH lab is culturing lung cells from COPD patients, which will then be infected with respiratory viruses to investigate the response. Collaborators at AstraZeneca will perform RNASeq analysis, a means of identifying differentially expressed genes, to discover fundamental differences between COPD patients and individuals without the disease.


This is only possible because of the quality assurance and standards WISH operates under, allowing AstraZeneca to analyse the samples generated in WISH with confidence.

By identifying changes in in gene expression associated with viral infection, the collaboration aims toincrease our understanding of the disease and identify drug targets, providing the basis for the development of new COPD therapies.