Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is spending £832m to extend a huge outsourcing deal with IBM for a further seven years.

Under the new contract, IBM will provide IT infrastructure services to 60 national divisions of AstraZeneca. These services include server and storage hosting, service desks, PC management, networking, support and communications services including email.

Despite the scale of the IBM contract, AstaZeneca’s software development teams will retain overall control of development, and IT strategy will remain in-house.

Richard Williams, chief information officer at AstraZeneca, said the agreement would enable AstraZeneca to provide consistent infrastructure services globally, enable a faster and more efficient rollout of new technology, and have improved levels of service. He said it would allow the company to “deliver more medicines” by improving its scientific, commercial and supply operations.

The agreement allows IBM greater autonomy on methods of delivery, and will result in cost efficiencies when compared with running in-house systems, Williams added.

The original seven-year agreement was worth $1.7bn – at the time the largest deal of its kind in the pharmaceuticals industry.