Three Companies Collaborate to End Coronary Heart Disease for Good

By Gregory Keenan, MD, Vice President and Head of US Medical Affairs

This could be the beginning of the end for coronary heart disease and its consequences. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, accounting for approximately one out of every three deaths. In the U.S. more than 85 million Americans age 20 and older currently live with heart disease. Coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease, alone causes more than 7 million deaths annually. Something must be done, but tackling a health crisis of this magnitude can seem daunting. How can we accelerate our efforts, and how can we improve upon current research models to make an impact faster?

This is where One Brave Idea™ comes in. This new initiative, formed through a collaboration of the American Heart Association (AHA), Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and AstraZeneca, aims to identify a visionary leader who will lead the research charge to end coronary heart disease and improve the cardiovascular health of people around the world. This individual will have the opportunity and challenge to build a diverse team featuring the best and brightest minds from across industries and disciplines.

One Brave Idea sets out to accelerate discovery by removing some of the barriers that have plagued the traditional research process. The selected leader and his or her team will have resources beyond the financial investment of the three organizations (a combined $75 million over five years) by combining the AHA’s medical and scientific expertise, Verily’s technical prowess, with scientific insights and mentoring from AstraZeneca. The ultimate goal is to design and implement novel strategies to prevent or reverse coronary heart disease with an inclusive focus on causative factors and its consequences, thereby restoring cardiovascular health to patients and improving lives around the world.

AstraZeneca is continually looking for new ways to enable cross sector collaboration amongst individuals, organizations and communities who share our passion for patients. This research initiative allows us to combine resources to improve cardiovascular health – and take a truly innovative approach to solving issues of cardiovascular disease in a multidisciplinary way.

If you believe you have the idea and capabilities to lead a team that can end coronary heart disease and improve cardiovascular health, visit to submit your idea by 11:59p CT on February 14, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed by a joint leadership team comprised of representatives from AHA, Verily and AstraZeneca. I will be a part of this team, along with my colleague Bruce Cooper, MD, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca. Bruce will bring his more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry along with entrepreneurial experience founding a successful specialty pharmaceutical company to the efforts. Bruce and I, along with our partners at AHA and Verily, eagerly anticipate the ideas, new perspectives and solutions that One Brave Idea will generate.