Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has signed a large programming and reporting outsourcing deal with Cognizant.

Under the multi-year deal, AstraZeneca said the outsourcer will provide "comprehensive" biostatistics and medical reporting services, aimed at aiding clinical studies.

The deal also covers statistical programming, data analysis, medical writing and document publishing services.

The company already uses Cognizant for business process outsourcing, application maintenance and data management in several divisions.

AstraZeneca intends to cut cycle times and standardise processes as part of the changes, and insisted it would retain the key design and data interpretation elements of clinical trials.

It plans to use the Cognizant 2.0 knowledge sharing and collaboration platform, to assist clinical studies being managed across numerous countries.

Karin Wingstrand, VP at AstraZeneca, said the deal "will help us streamline our clinical development operations".

"This is key to our business transformation aimed at achieving greater efficiency, agility, flexibility, and global competitiveness - all of which are crucial to clinical trials and development of new drugs," she added.