Sunway Healthcare Group Leads As First Malaysian Private Healthcare Group to Collaborate With AstraZeneca on Improving Healthcare Access and Delivery

Sunway Healthcare Group Leads As First Malaysian Private Healthcare Group to Collaborate With AstraZeneca on Improving Healthcare Access and Delivery
[L-R]: Dato’ Lau Beng Long, President, Sunway Healthcare Group ; Dr Khoo Chow Huat, Managing Director (Hospital & Healthcare Operations) Sunway Healthcare Group ; Vinod Narayanan, Country President, AstraZeneca Malaysia ; Sylvia Varela, Area Vice President, Asia Area, AstraZeneca concluding the MOU agreement

Sunway City, 24 May 2024Sunway Healthcare Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AstraZeneca, outlining collaborations in the areas of clinical trials, research, service and implementation. The partnership is the first of its kind between a Malaysian private healthcare group and a global pharmaceutical company.

At a signing ceremony held at the Sunway Sanctuary, the MoU was signed between Dr Khoo Chow Huat, Managing Director (Hospital & Healthcare Operations) of Sunway Healthcare Group and Vinod Narayanan, Country President, AstraZeneca Malaysia, in the presence of Dato’ Lau Beng Long, President of Sunway Healthcare Group and Sylvia Varela, Asia Vice President representing AstraZeneca.   

Building on their existing collaborations, this partnership is yet another between AstraZeneca  and Sunway Medical Centre (SMC) in their efforts to enhance healthcare delivery and introduce innovative solutions to address healthcare challenges. An immediate initiative, for example, is to explore early screening for lung cancer among at-risk populations and integration of Kidney Failure Risk Equation for early chronic kidney disease into lab reports for optimal management. Together, the partners will collaborate to accelerate the development of the clinical research field through conducting clinical trials, observational studies, real-world evidence generation, molecular diagnostics studies, clinical validation on digital pathology and digital healthcare solutions, including adoption of artificial intelligence (AI).

Additionally, focusing on the field of oncology and biopharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca will explore SMC as a potential site for future clinical trials including, but not limited to, Phase I clinical trials to further expand patients’ access to AstraZeneca’s innovative drugs under their clinical development pipeline.

“With the rise of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes in Malaysia, we need all hands on deck to develop solutions, be it to prevent, diagnose or treat these conditions, for the benefit of humankind,” said Dr Khoo Chow Huat, Managing Director (Hospital & Healthcare Operations) of Sunway Healthcare Group.

“This is one of the reasons we established the Sunway Clinical Research Centre (SCRC) in 2009, that currently focuses on phase II to phase IV clinical trials and feasibility studies across a diverse spectrum of disciplines. To date, the SCRC has facilitated 101 investigator-led research involving our own medical consultants and professionals, and 50 industry-sponsored research in collaboration with various academic, research, medical technology and pharmaceutical organisations, with 24 being active research in this latter category.”

“AstraZeneca is one of the major contributors to the industry-sponsored research in the SCRC, and we want to take this collaboration further by exploring Phase 1 clinical trials with AstraZeneca, when SMC’s Phase I Clinical Trial Unit is ready in 2025 – marking the first such partnership for us, as well as for AstraZeneca, where private hospitals are concerned,” Dr Khoo added.

Commenting on the partnership, Vinod said; “As a science-led, global pharmaceutical company, we are committed to advancing the field of clinical research, and accelerating the delivery of new medicines that could potentially provide more effective treatment, prevention and, ultimately, cure for some of the world’s most complex diseases. By leveraging digital technologies like AI, and collaborating with partners like Sunway and across the health network, we are speeding up the chances of success in scientific research for new medicines, designing and recruiting for better clinical trials and driving personalised medicine strategies.”

“Our partnership with SHG exemplifies how we are harnessing advanced AI technology. We are exploring the use of AI for early lung cancer screening and to detect tumor markers within our cancer portfolio and considering Sunway Medical Centre as a potential site for future clinical trials. We hope to replicate the success of this collaboration by expanding it to include other hospitals under the Sunway Healthcare Group in the near future.”

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