NOVARTIS PLANS NEW INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE RESEARCH CENTER FOR SHANGHAI
Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis announced Monday plans to build a $100M research and development center in Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, the eighth in the company’s global research network. The R & D center, to be built in two phases in May and July 2007, will work to integrate traditional Chinese medicine with modern drug research, and will initially focus on infectious causes of cancer endemic to China and Asia.
“The Shanghai center will allow us to combine modern drug discovery approaches with those of traditional Chinese medicine that have been used to treat patients in China for thousands of years,” said Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis. “This new research center will help Novartis contribute to the needs of patients in China and elsewhere and has the potential to become a global center for biomedical innovation.”
In recent years, all the major Western pharmaceutical drugmakers have established some type of manufacturing or marketing presence in China. With a population of more than 1.3 billion, China is also one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets for prescription drugs. Novartis estimates the country to be among its top 10 markets by 2010. The government’s efforts to correct intellectual property deficiencies have also strengthened China’s pharmaceutical industry and drawn foreign investors.
Novartis has a six-year research partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM) to identify and test traditional medicines for pharmacological properties. Additional partners include drug manufacturer WuXi PharmaTech, the Chinese University of Hong Kong National Institutes of Biological Sciences and Kunming Institute of Botany.
The center’s laboratories will accommodate 400 scientists recruited primarily from Shanghai’s academic, biotech and pharmaceuticals research institutions. “Shanghai is clearly emerging as a new epicenter of science globally, and is a magnet for the best and the brightest investigators. It is a perfect location for exploring novel scientific approaches for the discovery of new medicines,” said Dr. Mark Fishman, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne