Posts Tagged ‘Hamner’
Two years after the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences set up a gateway to China, the Research Triangle Park research institute is adding a Chinese company to its collaborators.
Ascletis will establish its U.S. research and development operations on the Hamner campus. Other operations of the company will be in the National High Tech Industry Development Zone in Hangzhou, a city about two hours southwest of Shanghai.
Founded this year by Jinzi Wu, former head of global HIV drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline in RTP, and Jinxing Qi, a Chinese real estate investor and chairman of the Hangzhou Binjiang Real Estate Group, Ascletis has $100 million in commitments from U.S. and Chinese angel investors. The company plans to establish a global therapeutics business that targets cancer and infectious diseases.
Allan Baxter, former global head of medicines development at GSK, will lead Ascletis’ discovery and development strategy as chief strategy officer.
According to its Web site, the company aims to buy the rights to new treatments, develop them and introduce them to the growing Chinese pharmaceutical market.
Projected to generate about $60 billion in sales this year, the Chinese pharmaceutical market is increasing at an annual rate of more than 20 percent, according to a report by strategic consulting firm The Monitor Group. By 2015, Monitor advisors expect China to rank second in market size to the U.S. and ahead of Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
Incidence and mortality rates for lung, stomach, liver and breast cancers are comparable or higher in China than in the U.S., the Monitor report pointed out. But competition among pharmaceutical companies is high in China. Nearly all multinationals and numerous local firms are jostling for market shares.
Also, health insurance coverage in China is improving rapidly. In the past two years, the Chinese government invested more than $160 billion in healthcare reform.
Bill Greenlee, the Hamner’s chief executive, and Wu, chief executive of Ascletis, signed the joint venture July 16 at the U.S.-China Governors Forum in Salt Lake City. At the same forum, N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Zhao Hongzhu, the party secretary of the province to which Hangzhou belongs, signed an agreement to foster business and economic development between North Carolina and Zhejiang Province through commercial interactions.
A researcher at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park has received a $750,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study the health risks that various toxins pose for the liver.
Sudin Bhattacharya, a research investigator in the Hamner’s Center for Dose Response Modeling and the Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences, will use a virtual liver for the research. The virtual liver is a computational model of the human liver that can predict liver cell response to varying doses of environmental chemicals.
The research is funded through the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research to better understand the possible consequences of global change on human health, ecosystems and social well-being. Bhattacharya focuses on computational modeling of cell signaling and key gene regulatory networks and the disruption of these networks by toxic compounds and drugs.
The virtual liver, which was developed by a team headed by Dr. Paul Watkins, a UNC professor of medicine, is also used as a computer-based simulation of prescription drug-induced liver injuries. (More about the Hamner’s efforts here.)
William Greenlee is getting ready to build another institute on the 56-acre campus of the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park.
Construction of the Global Translational Research Institute, a 150,000 square-foot building projected to cost $70 million, could start as early as this fall, the Hamner chief executive told members of the Triangle Area Research Directors Council at their March 16 meeting.
The building is part of a $500 million expansion plan Greenlee unveiled in 2006. The plan envisions five buildings of labs and office space – a research hub focused on drug safety early in the development of new medicines.
Greenlee’s vision for the Hamner is inspired by biomedical research hot spots like the Salk Institute in San Diego, Calif., the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Jupiter, Fla., and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass.
At the TARDC meeting, Greenlee showed a map of Cambridge, with the Broad Institute at the center of a triangle that had Harvard University, the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital as its corners. “This is an instructive model,” he said and pointed out that the Hamner sits in the middle of a similar node of knowledge with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and N.C. State University as the corners of the triangle.
“We don’t want to become Cambridge,” Greenlee said. “We want to create the energy of Cambridge.”
In the past five years, the Hamner has already made headway in pursuit of the ambitious expansion plan: A research partnership with UNC, research footholds in China and a collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration to reduce drug-induced liver injuries.
In June 2009, Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, cut the ribbon at the opening of the Hamner’s Institute for Drug Safety Sciences, which built on the more than 30-year expertise the Hamner has with chemical toxins.
Novozymes says it has figured out how to make cellulosic ethanol possible that costs about the same as gasoline, GlaxoSmithKline’s restless leg drug raises safety concerns and the Hamner Institutes team up with a leading cancer cluster in Oslo, Norway. Read more…
Liquidia Technologies in Durham gets $20 million in venture capital, b3bio, a biotech startup in Research Triangle Park, teams up with pharma giant Roche in a big way and Prolacria, Inspire Pharmaceuticals’ dry eye drug, fails yet another late-stage trial. Read more…
A biotech startup in Research Triangle Park signed a deal with pharma giant Roche that could turn the company into a brain trust of cutting-edge technologies.
The deal allows b3bio, a two-year-old company with 10 employees, to be Roche’s eyes and ears for new drug development and delivery technologies that are in the works at universities. Technologies that suit both partners could then be nurtured at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, where b3bio has its labs, before they are turned over to Roche for further development, said Dani Bolognesi, co-founder and chief executive of b3bio. Read more…
Tranzyme Pharma signs on to help Bristol-Myers Squibb fight generic competition, RTI International receives a $101 million contract to fight malaria in Africa and a drug safety expert at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences teams up with a geneticist at N.C. State University to find out why some patients have serious liver reactions to otherwise safe drugs. Read more…
Forty years after “Made in Japan” was synonymous with cheap, poorly made goods, Japanese technology rules the U.S. automotive industry. The same could happen with biosciences “Made in China,” just faster.
I was one of about two dozen visitors Thursday who took a first look at the new Hamner Institute for Drug Safety Sciences. Also among the visitors was Janet Woodcock, a Food and Drug Administration top executive who oversees the approval and regulation of all U.S. medicines. Woodcock called the opening of the 14,000-square-foot research laboratory in Research Triangle Park a “milestone in drug safety regulation.”
The Hamner Institutes of Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park has signed a deal that could help North Carolina biotech companies do business in China.
The partnership with China Medical City, a RTP-size research park the Jiangsu provincial government is establishing about three hours north of Shanghai, also aims to bring Chinese investment and jobs to North Carolina.